A delightful little number that I had on a couple of occasions in Avignon and the only time that I have eaten eel! Of course, at the time of eating I was quite unaware of what fish actually made up the soup. If I had to describe the Bisquebouille Avignon, I’d say it falls neatly between a bouillabaisse and a bourride.
It’s quite delicate in character and perhaps if you are a fan of more robust stews and soups, you might find its lightness a little disappointing. Now that’s where the aioli comes in – not only do we use it here to thicken the bisquebouille but it is also meant to deepen the flavour. I love sprinkling some chilli flakes over for a little bite and my husband prefers a light sprinkling of parsley on his.
The versions I had also contained some white fish and clams. In this recipe, I’m using monkfish (always a favourite of mine in seafood stews), sea bream, scallops, prawns and langoustines to top each dish with.
A word to the wise: the langoustines add depth to the dish and make a great visual statement but like prawns with shells on, they are fiddly to eat. You could shell them prior to cooking, leaving just the tail on, that would work splendidly too. Remember that we are keeping all shells and fish bones to make our own delicate fish stock. It’ll only take about 25 minutes to make the fish stock, so don’t skip that part and buy shop bought, it won’t be the same.
You can make ahead until the end of step 7, then finish it all off in 7 minutes and serve!