Bourride Sètois

Nage Bound with Mayonnaise

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Yield:



Appears in


By James Peterson

Published 1991

  • About

This bourride comes from Sète, in the south of France along the western end of the Mediterranean coast. It is prepared by poaching fish in a nage made with aromatic vegetables and herbs. Once the fish is cooked, the poaching liquid is then strained and whisked into an aïoli, which lightly binds it and contributes to its flavor. This is a model for finishing fish poaching liquid with mayonnaise. Any of the classic mayonnaises in this chapter can be used, as well as improvised mayonnaises using different oils and flavorings for new variations.

Bourride sétoise, often made with monkfish (baudroie), may also include the puréed monkfish liver, a delicacy somewhat like foie gras from the sea. If you’re using the liver, purée it with about the same volume of the nage and work the mixture through a drum sieve or large strainer. You can stabilize the mixture with 0.5% propylene glycol alginate in the court-bouillon (nage) and/or 2% liquid lecithin to the mayonnaise.

Fennel adds an ineffable freshness to stocks. Because the fennel isn’t eaten in the finished dish, you can use the branches and fronds and save the bulbs for something else. (Whenever you use fennel bulbs in other recipes, it’s worth saving the branches in the freezer for stocks.)


whole monkfish tails, 1 or 2 6 lb 3 kg
onion, coarsely chopped 1 medium 1 medium
fennel branches, 12 inches (30 centimeters) each, chopped 2 or 3 2 or 3
large bouquet garni, with a strip of dried orange rind 1 1
water 3 cups 750 ml
monkfish liver, 1 (optional) 5 oz 150 g
liquid lecithin (if using the liver) 1.5 g
propylene glycol alginate (if using the liver) 1.5 g
saffron-flavored aïoli 1 cup 250 ml
egg yolks (optional) 3 3
french bread (large round or fat loaf) 6 slices 6 slices
salt and pepper to taste to taste


  1. Cut the skin off the monkfish tails and slide a knife along each side of the central vertebral column, detaching the meaty fillets as you go.
  2. Combine the onion, fennel, bouquet garni, and water in a small pot and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes. Strain through a fine chinois.
  3. If you’re using the liver, purée it in a food processor with an equal amount (by volume) of nage. Purée in the liquid lecithin and work the mixture through a fine strainer or a drum sieve. Use an immersion blender to blend the propylene glycol alginate into the hot nage for about 5 minutes.
  4. Prepare the aïoli. To prepare a thicker, more stew-like sauce, whisk the extra egg yolks into the aïoli. If you’re using the liver, work it into the aïoli.
  5. Toast the slices of bread.
  6. When it is time to present the bourride, put the nage into a straight-sided sauté pan and bring it to a simmer on top of the stove. Place a slice of toasted bread in the bottom of each heated soup plate. Poach the monkfish fillets in the stock, then slice them into ½-inch-thick medallions. Place the pieces of monkfish on the bread in the serving plates.
  7. Whisk a cup (250 milliliters) of the fish poaching liquid into the saffron aioli in a saucepan with sloping sides. Gently heat the sauce while whisking; by no means let the sauce boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. When the sauce is hot enough to serve, ladle it over the monkfish in the soup plates.


The seafood used in a bourride is not limited to the traditional monkfish. Virtually any flavorful fish or other seafood can be used. If using fish that provide bones (monkfish only has the central vertebrae), it’s possible to make a fish broth rather than a nage using the same ingredients as above but also adding the fish bones.

It is especially exciting to use seafood, such as scallops, with coral or roe that can be used in the sauce. If you encounter coral while shucking fresh scallops, integrate it into the mayonnaise (work it through a drum sieve first) as you would the monkfish liver above. Poach the scallops in the nage and transfer them to hot soup plates. Spoon over the sauce.