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Wed 14th Dec, 2016 was...

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14th Dec each year

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The name is a bit of a mouthful, but bouillabaisse is a hearty meal that you might not have heard of, so it certainly deserves its own dedicated day.

A bouillabaisse is a fish stew or soup dish, which originally came from France – as the name might suggest. The meal appears to have its origins in the port city of Marseilles, and traditionally it was made using rockfish and fennel seeds.

The History of National Bouillabaisse Day

Although the origins of Bouillabaisse Day don’t seem to be pinned down at the moment, the dish that it honors has been around for generations. When it first came about, it was being made by fishermen in Marseilles who would use rockfish to help make a tasty soupy dish. Rockfish, and other fish like it, were used because they were often too bony for the fishermen to be able to sell to markets or restaurants – and as the saying goes, waste not, want not. Because of this, bouillabaisse is a meal that you might have to eat while being careful to pull bones out as you go along, depending on how authentic and traditional the chef is being.

Bouillabaisse was first coined before the 17th century, but a soup very similar to the one we now know was recorded as being made back in 600BC, when the Ancient Greeks who founded Marseilles ate a fish stew simply made from ingredients around the region.

How to Celebrate Bouillabaisse day

As always, the simplest way to celebrate a day like this is to rustle up your own bouillabaisse!

You don’t have to use the bony rockfish that its creators used when they first cooked it – any white fish will do. If you want to be very authentic, you’ll need to serve it up with the broth and the fish in separate dishes and alongside some rouille sauce – although if you do go to Marseilles, you’ll find that plenty of cooks argue over what really is the truly traditional way to present it!

Fish that is best to be used in a bouillabaisse are firmer fish, like haddock, halibut, cod or sea bass. It’s also customary to pop in other seafood if you wish, such as mussels or squid.

The broth that makes up the key part of this wholesome dish is mainly made up of tomatoes, oil, orange peel and a dash of white wine. Why not experiment with the broth as you’re making it, and come up with your own twist on this regional favorite?

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