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March 2005 Issue
White Wine
by J. Sinclair
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The second recipe I have to share this month is for a classic bouillabaisse, a seafood stew that reflects the best flavors of the Mediterranean: sun-ripened tomatoes, crisp white wine, good quality olive oil and fresh seafood. It's a lovely meal that only requires a glass of that chilled wine and some crusty bread to soak up the soup. While it's humble beginnings were as a simple meal for fishermen, it has become an elegant meal that's often featured at special occasions. With ingredients like lobster, mussels and saffron, it's not difficult to imagine why! My thought is that this makes a perfect meal to bridge the gap between winter and spring and embraces them both. What's more appropriate in winter than a hearty soup? And what's more welcoming to spring than a meal featuring fresh seafood, tomatoes and saffron, the stamen of a wild crocus? Therefore, I would argue that March is absolutely the best time to splurge on this wonderful dish. Enjoy!



  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • fresh black pepper
  • 2 small live lobsters
  • 3 pounds mixed fish fillets such as snapper, cod, bass, eel, haddock
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • Fish stock
  • 1 teaspoon saffron stamens
  • 1 pint mussels, scrubbed and bearded
In a heavy soup kettle, sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil. Add the herbs and simmer for 5 minutes. Cut the lobsters into 2 inch pieces and the fish into 2 inch chunks. Add to the kettle with the white wine and enough fish stock to cover the seafood. Bring to a boil and cook, covered, over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the saffron and the mussels and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Serve hot with crusty bread on the side.
  • Yields: 8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

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