Marseille: Fish Story

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Sunrise Marseille Vieux Port1.JPG

Mediterranean sunrise suffuses the Vieux Port with a golden glow. Along the Quai des Belges, a dozen fishing boats unload their catch. No sleek salmon here; these are bottom feeders, rockfish, scorpionfish, monkfish, as ugly as junkyard dogs, yet critical ingredients in the savory soupe de poissons that is the base for Bouillabaisse.

Unloading the catch Marseille1.JPG Ugly fish Marseille.JPG

A shirtsleeve Indian summer evening. There's a restaurant here that actually owns the website, but it's closed the two nights I'm in Marseille. No matter. At Chez Loury, the 28-euro "bouillabaisse" menu begins with a kir, then the a tureen of dark, saffron-scented broth, slices of toasted bread and a tub of the red-pepper mayonnaise called rouille for its rusty color.

The maitre d'hotel shows off a tray of the fish that cooked in the soup, specifically weever (vive), gurnard (galinette) and conger eel (congre or fielas). Then, with deftly wielded fork and spoon, he removes the bones, adds boiled potatoes, moistens with more soupe de poissons and delivers the plate to the table.

Presenting the bouillabaisse fish-1.JPG Filleting the fish11.JPG Bouilllabaisse served at Loury.JPG

Drank a terrific white wine with this: a 2004 Clos Ste. Magdeleine, grown on the slopes above the fishing port of Cassis, a few miles up the coast, a sturdy blend of marsanne, clairette and ugni blanc that has enough stamina to keep up with the powerful flavors and spices of the seafood.

For dessert, a quartet of herbal sorbets: verbena, mint, thyme and sorrel. What a conclusion to a day of sensory overload!

1 Comment

And I thought verbena was just for scent/soap.

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This page contains a single entry by Cornichon published on October 21, 2006 7:22 AM.

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