My Citizens, the mighty intellect reigning supreme in the skull of the always Phrenological TFD has decided to share another gleaning of culinary wisdom from the northern coast of France itself! For this, no less a recipe will do than the legendary fish soup from Brittany – cotriade!
As noted on frenchcountryfood.com:
Many stories have been written about these recipes that regional coastal people interpreted in various ways depending on the villages and seasons.
In the seventh century BC, the Greeks already ate a simple fish stew called Kakavia.
Later, we find the fish soup in Roman mythology, such as the soup that Venus serves to Vulcan …
From the origins, pots and other cotriade, bourride or bouillabaisse, small meals were prepared and eaten with the humblest of their products from harsh sea trips.
Returning from fishing, they heated on the waterfront a cauldron filled with sea water. When the water boiled, fish outsized or unmarketable, headless, mutilated were plunged in… and then they added some herbs, or other spices.
The Cotriade is a derivative of the Breton name “kaoteriad” denotes the share of the catch returned by the sailor, and the contents of the “kaoter” (cauldron).
The Cotriade is the coastal Bretagne dish that was prepared by the family on the dock or at the back of the boat, or even on deck by crews at sea.
Fragrant curls of iodine and Roscoff onions browned mingling with the aerial ballet of hungry seagulls … Cotriade is the simplicity Curnonsky placed at the top of Breton cuisine.
It is a specialty of southern Finistère, on the edge of Morbihan (small port of Brigneau) and to the Bretons what the bouillabaisse is to Southerners: a traditional and popular dish prepared with local fish species.
It is used the same way as bouillabaisse, that is to say, by drinking the broth first and then tasting the different fish then. This dish is served with potatoes boiled in water, topped with a drizzle of oil and vinegar.
The addition of seafood, vegetables and herbs is a further contribution to “civilize” the dish and offer it in restaurants.
The more fish on the list, the more cotriade is considered refined. The order of introduction of different species during cooking is key to the success of this dish.
Citizens, my version of the classic recipe calls for a few shellfish native to Brittany – while not traditional to the soup, I find they add a wonderful flavor to the final product.
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