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.
Battle on – The GeneralissimoPrint
The Hirshon Breton Cotriade Soup
- First step: The soup
- 500g of shrimp with heads, cut in 1/2 lengthwise
- 1 carrot
- 1 onion, preferably a Roscoff varietal from Brittany
- 1/2 leek
- 1 leafy celery stalk
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 1 branch of thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 20 cl of olive oil
- 40 cl of white wine
- Salt & Pepper
- Second step: Preparation of the cotriade
- 2 ounces Salt pork, rind removed
- 2 pounds small red potatoes – peeled, quartered
- 64 fluid ounces (2 quarts) Shrimp stock
- Sprigs of parsley, chervil, oregano, tarragon and thyme + 1 bay leaf
- Cheesecloth and twine
- 2 medium onions, preferably Roscoff
- 200g fillet of monkfish, skin removed
- 200g fillet of cod, skin removed
- 200g of fillet of bar or rock mullet, skin removed
- 200g of turbot, skin removed
- 8 dry pack sea scallops, cut into coins
- 1 cold water lobster tail, removed from the shell and cut into coins
- Minced chervil (preferred) or parsley
- Third Step: Croûtons
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) clarified butter
- 8 thick slices sourdough
- 1 garlic clove
- For the soup: cut the vegetables in a mirepoix dice.
- Heat the olive oil, then add the vegetables, a pinch of salt and sauté until the evaporation of their water and then deglaze with white wine, reduce to dryness and add thyme, peeled garlic and bay leaf.
- Wet ⅔ of the mass with water.
- Leave to cook on very low heat for 2 hours then mix all while removing thyme and bay leaves.
- Adjust seasoning.
- Put the shrimp stock in a saucepan and heat to just below a simmer. Reserve.
- Heat a seperate soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat and add the salt pork. Cook for 1-2 minutes to heat the fat.
- Add the onions, sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt, turn heat to medium low, and cook for 5 minutes (no browning on the onions).
- Tie the herbs and bay leaf in a cheesecloth and add to the pot along with the potatoes and the warm fish stock.
- Taste the soup at this point, adjust seasoning with salt. Be careful not to over season, since the soup liquid will reduce.
- Increase the heat and bring the soup to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low and simmer the soup until the potatoes are tender, about 30-40 minutes.
- At this point, there should be enough broth to poach the fish in, add an extra cup of stock (preferred) or water to the soup if it is too thick.
- Taste the soup and re-check the seasoning. Remove the cheesecloth with herbs and bay leaf.
- Add one third of the fish fillets to the barely simmering soup, and poach until opaque. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm.
- Repeat twice, with the remaining fish and shellfish. (Note: Make sure all the fish you add is immersed in the broth, but near the surface so you can scoop it out when cooked. Be careful when handling the fish, so it doesn’t fall apart. You may need to gently turn the fillets. Add less fish at a time if it doesn’t all fit.)
- Meanwhile, for croûtons, heat clarified butter in a frying pan over medium heat, add bread and cook, turning once, until golden (1-2 minutes each side). Rub bread and serving bowls with garlic clove, then discard garlic.
- Divide croûtons among bowls, top with potatoes, onions and shellfish, then ladle over fish and soup. Season liberally with freshly ground black pepper and serve hot. Sprinkle lightly with minced chervil or parsley.
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