Somewhen last week, I watched a cooking show, where Lea Linster prepared a fish soup. I remembered that Christmas dinner, when I was a child and my mom and my godmother cooked their first ever Bouillabaisse, that tasted absolutely heavenly! Though, I also remember that they have never cooked it again, because it was a lot of work. I still feel its rich taste in my mouth, so I decided to prepare a fish soup too, and followed the recipe of Lea Linster.
The first task was to get the right fish for the soup. Before doing anything at all, I checked the WWF fish list to see if the fishes in the recipe are recommendable or at least acceptable. The Swiss WWF list has 4 categories and I wanted to stick to the first two. I needed sea bass, gilthead seabream, gurnard and red mullet. The first two I found recommendable from organic breeding in France. So far so good. I found out that red mullet from the Eastern-Central Atlantic is acceptable and also the gurnard from the North-East Atlantic. I made my notes and went to get the fish. I decided not to buy the gurnard, so that way I only would buy one acceptable fish the rest should be okay.
I was stainding in front of the fresh fish section in one of the big supermarkts in Switzerland. The salesperson asked friendly if he can help, I reacted a bit slowly, because I was shocked to see a big yellow fin tuna and bunch of tuna fillets for a special price, right in front of a WWF poster for sustainable fishing. I was a kind of shocked. I decieded to ask the salesman what fish would he recommened to buy for a soup. His answer came fast and direkt: monkfish. I said immediately no and told him that is highly overfished. His answer was: oh well yes, but buy it as long as it is available - and he wanted to grab a fillet to pack it in for me. I got kind of angry, but I stood calm and simply said, well it wouldn't be overfished if stores wouldn't sell, just like that tuna and I looked at the big yellow fin, while I was wondering who on Earth would buy that fish and didn't even want to think about that it probably would end up in the garbage. Then he said, that they work together with WWF and that this tuna would be okay. Well he was totally wrong, the only tuna that is okay according to WWF, Greenpeace and MSC is the white tuna, just check the list by yourself. At the end I had my organic sea bass, seabream and also found a red mullet in another shop and in the evening I cooked that wonderful fish soup. I really hope that people start more and more to inform themselves and consider twice if it is really worth to buy that piece of monkfish!
Ah and why the forgotten tomato? Well the recipe calls for tomatoes, but I forgot to add them, so my soup is not that red, but it tasted amazing together with the fresh bread and the rouille.
1 sea bass
1 red mullet
1 fennel bulb
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon tomato puree
some fennel seeds
1 bay leaf
Chop vegetables and sautee in olive oil until soft, add garlic an sautee for some more minutes. Cut the fish in pieces and add it to the vegetables among the tomato puree, the chopped tomatoes, the fennel seeds, the bay leaf. Pour hot water over it and cook for 15-20 minutes. Before it is cooked add the saffron. Puree the soup ( I removed the heads of the fishes) and press it through a sieve. Season and serve.