The other day, my often hyper-picky 3 year old son Desmond expressed a desire for fish soup (he’d seen it on LIttle Bear) and I jumped at the chance to introduce him to something new and good. The fact that I picked the legendary and time-intensive fish stew bouillabaisse is perhaps final proof of my insanity, but I managed to come up with a fast, family-friendly version that clocks in at just under an hour from prep to serving, and has the primary flavors and textures of the classic version. So when you’ve got an hour instead of a first class ticket to Marseille, this time-efficient approximation will just have to do:
1 pound white fish fillets (we used mahi mahi)
1 can of tomatoes
1 onion, roughly chopped (plus two chopped leeks if you happen to have ‘em on hand)
2 fennel bulbs, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
pinch of saffron
salt and pepper
Sautee the vegetables in olive oil until tender, crumble in saffron, deglaze pan with white wine. Season with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes with juices and simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Add fish until thoroughly cooked through, another 10 minutes or so. Puree with an immersion blender.
This is perhaps my favorite part of the dish. Make too much for the added benefit of having to slather it on sandwiches the next day.
squeeze of lemon juice
tablespoon olive oil
pinch saffron (crumbled and steeped in a tablespoon or so hot water)
Mix it all up and spread on toasted rustic country white and serve.
And after all that, Desmond just had a salad.