This unctuous, savory cream soup is a tradition in the South, from Marseilles to Monaco. Since either whiting and bass or cod are available year round in the United States, you may serve this soup in any season.
The chunks of fish are removed from the soup and served separately. I like to serve the fish as a second course after the soup, but most Niçois prefer having everything arrive on the table at the same time. Choose a bright crockery dish, since both the soup and the fish have a pale color.
Fillet the fish (do not discard the heads and bones) or ask to have this done at the fish market. Stew the leek, onion, and carrot in the olive oil for about 15 minutes, or until they are soft. Add the fish heads and bones only, then the wine, water (more if necessary), orange rind, fennel or anise, thyme, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and skim off the froth. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Strain into a pot, pushing as much of the bits of fish through as possible.
Cut the fish fillets into
Meanwhile, warm a platter in the oven, set at 200°. Place the fillets on the platter and pour a ladleful of warm broth over them. Seal with aluminum foil and keep the fish warm in the oven. Reserve the soup.
Prepare aïoli sauce. Put
Reheat the stock over a low flame. Beat half of it very slowly into the aïoli-tgg mixture with
As a following course, remove the foil from the platter of fish, garnish with parsley and serve with the bowl of chilled aïoli.
Serve the soup over both the fillets of fish and the croutons, and pass the bowl of aïoli separately.
© 1990 Mireille Johnston estate. All rights reserved.