Paul Mercurio's Hoegaarden Wit Bouillabaisse

Paul Mercurio

Paul Mercurio

Okay, so originally when I cooked this recipe on my TV show there was no beer in it. But then I thought, if you wanted to – and let’s face it why wouldn’t you – you could substitute two330ml bottles of Hoegaarden Wit and use only twolitres of fish stock. In those immortal words, ‘if there is liquid in a recipe it might as well be beer’. In fact I have rewritten this recipe just for you and it now does have beer in it – I cooked this on the weekend and it is terrific!

Hoegaarden Wit is a great beer to cook with – it is soft, it is fruity and slightly spicy, it works brilliant in seafood dishes such as this and my Hoegaarden seafood risotto. This soup is perfect to have with friends on a sunny Sunday winter’s afternoon as it is bright, light, full of lovely spicy characters, flavour and warmth. Of course it is best enjoyed with a Hoegaarden Wit also. Enjoy!

1 leek finely sliced – white end only
1 bulb of baby fennel – finely sliced
2 cloves of garlic finely sliced
1 potato cut into small dice
1 carrot cut in to small dice
1 can chopped tomatoes
3 bay leaves
Bunch of parsley stalks
15 – 20 strands of Saffron softened in hot fish stock
2 pieces of orange rind
¼ cup (3 tablespoons) Pernod
2 litres fish stock preferably home made
2 x 330ml bottles of Hoegaarden Wit
500g Fresh fish fillets cut in 3 cm cubes –combination of snapper, red emperor, nannygi, ling
8 large green prawns or 12 smaller ones.
12 mussels
1 hood of baby calamari – cut into very thin rings
Dill finely chopped
Parsley finely chopped
Juice of half a lemon
1 sourdough battard or bread stick
1 clove of garlic extra

Image from Mercurio's Menu by Paul Mercurio, published by Murdoch Books

Image from Mercurio’s Menu by Paul Mercurio, published by Murdoch Books

In a casserole pan over medium heat fry the leek, fennel and garlic in some olive oil until translucent (8 – 10 minutes) add the carrot and potato and fry for about 5 mins or so giving it a mix every now and then. Now add tomatoes, saffron along with the soaking liquor, orange peel, bay leaves, parsley stalks and the Pernod and cook stirring well for another 10 or so minutes toallow the flavours to combine. Add stock and beer bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer. Generously season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper, at least a teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of black pepper and then simmer for 30 – 40 minutes with no lid on so that the sauce can reduce and intensify in flavour. Discard the bay leaves and parsley stalks, taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary remembering that the fish will dilute the seasoning.

With the soup still simmering add the prawns and cook until they turn orange then remove from the stock and put on a plate. Add the mussels and stir through the stock, as they open remove them from the stock and put on the plate with the prawns. Add in the fish and stir through and keep a close eye on how it is cooking. When it looks like it is almost done i.e. soft but not quite flaking when you squeeze it add in the calamari rings, the prawns and mussels and a quarter cup each of parsley and dill then stir through well. Finally add in the lemon juice stir through and when the fish is cooked and flaking you are ready to serve.

Cut slices of the sour dough and drizzle both sides of the bread olive oil and then grill them over the bbq or grill plate on the stove. Turn when coloured and rub the cooked surface with the cut side of a raw clove of garlic. When the other side is cooked rub it with the garlic also.

Serve the soup in large bowls making sure each bowl gets some of each fillet of fish, prawns and mussels, garnish with some chopped parsley and place 3 pieces of the garlicky toast on the side of each bowl.

Eat! Beer of choice with this one is a Hoegaarden Wit.

Serves 4

Back to Historical