Bouillabaisse: boil and reduce

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Bouillabaisse [BOOL-yuh-BAYZ]

A Provencal stew made with fish and seafood, olive oil, saffron, garlic, onions, tomatoes and herbs, bouillabaisse is actually, or at least originally, a conflation of two words, both cooking techniques.

It’s part boullir, “to boil,” and part abaisser, “to reduce.” So the stew process starts, at least etymologically, with boiling some fish stock and the reducing it to a thicker liquid which is the base for the dish.

One version of bouillabaisse with rouille (Wikimedia Commons).

The new Elixir Bistro and chef-owner Pirooz Jafari has a fairly classic rendition of the dish on their menu, one that has moved from their former downtown Galt location to Belmont Village Food Avenue in Kitchener.

It’s a bowl full of monk fish filet, tiger shrimp, mussels swimming happily in a saffron-tomato-fennel-bouillabaisse broth.

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