Bored with our usual ways of cooking tuna (plainly grilled, or pan-fried with onions and bacon) we decided to try this recipe from our favourite cookery magazine, Cuisines et Vins de France. A truly excellent choice — though more time-consuming, the result was delicious, and very different. Highly recommended. Serves 4.
Red mullet is a very special fish, and this recipe makes the most of it. I usually serve it with a tomato vinaigrette (a vinaigrette dressing gently warmed (not cooked!) in a pan with peeled, seeded and diced tomatoes).
Bourride is a classic Mediterranean fish soup which is somewhat less complicated and expensive to make than bouillabaisse. There are various local variations. In Sète they make it with monkfish on its own, but in Marseille they use a mixture of firm white fish. Some people serve the broth on its own, followed by the fish and vegetables with boiled potatoes and aioli. You can put the slices of bread in bowls and pour the soup over them. However this version is restrained and elegant – you could serve it as a first course at a dinner party. It is said that when the Greek gods got bored with Olympus they came to Marseille to eat bourride, this being the only food that was fit for the gods.
Note: don’t be put off by the amount of garlic that goes into it. The soup itself tastes creamy rather than garlicky, and it’s up to you how much aioli you spread on your bread.
This quantity serves 6-8 people.
The Polynesian national dish, as prepared on a Tahitian beach.
Note: when not on a beach in Tahiti it is much more practical to just buy coconut milk in a can or package. We found it was thicker than the fresh-off-the-tree variety so you could dilute it a bit with water.
You may be dubious about raw fish, but I can assure you that this tastes superb and is a very elegant and original starter (if you can get hold of the fresh tuna of course). It’s very rich — you only need small helpings.