Bourride is a stew similar to a Bouillabaisse, except that the hallmark of a bourride is aioli (garlic mayonnaise) and was a favourite of the late great Keith Floyd. La Bourride is one of the great classic fish dishes of Provence and there are many, many variations. All sorts of fish can be used: sea bass, sea bream, John Dory, brill, mullet, monkfish, etc. Some restaurants include luxury items like langoustines and lobster.
It is said that when the Greek gods got bored with Olympus they came to Marseilles to eat bourride, this being the only food that was fit for the gods. Don’t be put off by the amount of garlic that goes into it as the soup itself tastes creamy rather than garlicky!
1.5 kg monkfish
about ½ litre of grapeseed oil
13 garlic cloves
2 large glasses of white wine
3 egg yolks
½ tsp saffron
juice of ½ a lemon
sprig of thyme
salt and black pepper
In a large pan bring to the boil the roughly chopped tomatoes and onions, 5 cloves of garlic, the thyme, saffron, orange zest, about 2 tbsp. of the grapeseed oil, one glass of white wine, and 1 litre of water. Simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, pound the remaining garlic to a purée in a pestle and mortar (or liquidise). Blend in 2 egg yolks and add salt and pepper. Gradually beat in the remaining grapeseed oil in a thin stream, using a whisk, until you feel the aioli is thick enough. Add lemon juice to taste and leave on one side.
Cut the skinned and boned fish into chunks and add it to the saucepan. Poach for 15 minutes. Then remove the fish with a draining spoon and keep warm. Sieve the stock and discard the vegetables. Return the stock to the pan and reheat gently. Take about half of the aioli and beat the remaining egg yolk into it. Then slowly pour the warmed stock onto it, stirring constantly. Return this mixture to the pan and heat gently, stirring all the time, until it thickens slightly. Don’t let it boil, or it will curdle. Divide the cooked fish between serving bowls and pour the soup over it. Serve with thin slices of toasted French bread and the remaining aioli.
Clairet du Chateau des Lisennes (£5.87) will pair well with this dish – it comes from a family property of 125 acres located at the "gates" of the city of Bordeaux. The property has been in existence since 1758 and was acquired by the Soubie Family in 1938. Four generations of the Soubie family have been caring for the vineyards and producing wine since then. The Château takes its name from the clay and limestone soils of the vineyards as the old French word for clay is “glise”. The vineyards themselves date back to 13th Century and are planted equally with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.
If you prefer white wine with fish Chateau Tour Chapoux (£5.14) would be an excellent choice. This lovely pale yellow, crisp white wine is produced right in the heart of the Entre deux Mers area, located in Saint Antoine du Queyret. Being made predominantly with the Sauvignon Blanc grape it shouts of summer fruits and flowers on the nose and in the mouth it is very expressive with those summer/exotic fruits coming through. It's very aromatic and has a long freshness in its taste.