Monday, March 4, 2013

Bouillabaisse (again!)

A second fantastic vegan bouillabaisse, and a bit less complicated than the last one. This recipe from the post punk kitchen uses roasted summer squash to approximate the sliminess of seafood, while things like fennel and nori deliver the classic bouillabaissey flavors.

For me, the capers really pulled it together, so be sure to try them as a garnish. The resultant soup is only slightly fishy, but wonderfully complex and savory. It is very acidic, between the tomatoes, the citrus, and the capers--so much so that when I first tried it on an empty stomach it gave me heartburn! Of course, this is exactly why it's traditionally eaten with starchy, mild, yangy foods, like the bread and rouille that Isa recommends. Garlicky saffron mayo sounds amazing, and way better (and more natural) than Zantac.

I made a few small changes to Isa's recipe, mostly out of necessity: I used zucchini instead of yellow squash, and I actually made twice as much, most of which went to good use in the soup. I didn't have enough potato, so I added 1/2 cup cooked brown rice at the end. I also used a whole sheet of nori, not a half a one, because it's so delicious. In place of fresh thyme, I used dried thyme and also rosemary, and I supplemented my orange zest with a chunk of lemon rind, which I removed at the end like a bay leaf.

This is a big recipe, and although the soup got even better as it sat in the fridge, you might want to halve it.

Bouillabaisse with Chickpeas and Roasted Squash

4 average sized yellow squash, cut into 1/4 inch thick half moons
olive oil
2 c thinly sliced fennel bulb (one bulb should be enough)
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
24 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes, chopped
1 potato, cut into small cubes
1/2 c red lentils
2 bay leaves
1 small lemon wedge (with peel)
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange peel
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne, or more to taste
Several dashed fresh black pepper
1 sheet nori, crumbled into tiny pieces
5 c vegetable broth
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 c cooked brown rice
2 c cooked chickpeas (a 25 oz can, rinsed and drained)
For garnish:
Fennel fronds

1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the squash with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. When oven is preheated, roast for 10 minutes, then flip and roast for another 5 minutes or so. Remove from oven and set aside. In the meantime, prepare the stew.
2. Preheat a 4 quart pot over medium heat. Saute fennel and onion in about a tablespoon of olive oil with a pinch of salt for 5 to 7 minutes, until translucent. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
3. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the chickpeas and rice, cover pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to a simmer and leave the lid ajar so that steam can escape.
4. When potatoes are tender and red lentils are cooked, about 15 minutes, add the chickpeas and turn heat to its lowest setting, cooking uncovered for 15 more minutes. This is so that the potatoes don’t overcook, but the lentils have more time to turn mushy and the flavors can develop even further. Add up to an extra cup of vegetable broth if needed, to keep the stew brothy. Cook this way for 10 minutes, then turn the heat off and let stew sit for at least 10 minutes to allow the flavors to marry. Taste for salt and seasoning. Remove the bay leaves and lemon rind before serving.
5. To serve, ladle stew into bowls, top with roasted zucchini, capers, and fennel fronds. Serves 6-8.

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