L’Ambiance des Halles is my fishmonger. In addition to selling fresh fish and seafood, they have a shellfish bar, small restaurant and seafood platters for take away. Difficult to please when it comes to fish, I usually don’t bother with the prepared food on offer, preferring to handle the preparation myself, which is wise.
However today, in honor of the Ascension holiday, L’Ambiance was preparing Bouillabaisse for take away and I thought, what the heck, I’m bored with doing “freezer”, so I ordered two portions for Jade and myself, but the owner refused payment. So nice. I had fallen off the wagon anyway by buying and freezing two beautiful pork carbonades/grillades for a future barbecue. I’m not made of iron.
The bouillabaisse fish broth packaged separately from the fish pieces, was made with vive (weever), congre (eel), chapon (scorpionfish), grondin (gurnet), rougets barbet (mullet); very thick and rich. Funny, we didn’t taste any garlic like in the bouillabaisse of Marseilles. Hello! Garlic and bay leaf, people! I think is was a Burgundy recipe, maybe.
The pieces of fish were correct; lieu jaune (pollack), joues de lotte (monkfish), blanc de seiche (cuttlefish) and langouste (crayfish). The fish pieces were cooked separately, not in the broth, but perfectly cooked. I imagine in order to sell individual servings, making sure each client gets a piece of each type of fish, it wasn’t practical to cook the fish in the broth. So I steamed a few mussels and clams in the broth until open and tossed in some cooked gambas to warm, added the rest of the fish and warmed all together. L’Ambiance’s fish soup was “correct” and certainly filling.