Great article on the origins of the sauce and a great recipe.
That said, it is worth noting that bouillabaisse is traditionally a humble Mediterranean fisherman’s stew. The fennel, olive oil, fish and shellfish are local. In the case of the fish, traditionally it’s not even the best cuts, but leftovers that the restaurants wouldn’t buy. The saffron and orange peel are products of ancient Mediterranean trade. The cayenne pepper–a typical addition to the stew–is a New World ingredient from the great Columbian Exchange.
The article details how the recipe was re introduced to the United States in the 1960’s.
Julia herself made bouillabaisse on her 1960s pioneer cooking television show,The French Chef. You can watch the entire episode here. It’s not for the faint of heart. The episode opens with the vacant gaze of a dead fish staring at you in black and white. You expect this scene to be followed with one of Albert Camus or Jean Paul Sartre describing the horror of our existential predicament while chain smoking cigarettes. What you see instead is far more disturbing. You see Julia decapitate the dead fish violently, first with a massive cleaver, and then with a large French chef’s knife (very apropos, methinks). It’s kind of gruesome.
I am not feeling that adventurous today, I could barely put together a red sauce without having the urge to take a nap. #StellaBlizard and such. My thanks to Slow Buring Passion, will be attempting this next time I make a major sea food run.