You can use any fish you like in this light yet flavourful Breton fish stew; a mixture of different varieties is good for texture and flavour.
- 1 tbsp lard
- 100 gm speck, diced
- 3 onions, thinly sliced
- 1 kg red rascal potatoes (about 7), sliced 8mm thick (see note)
- 1.5 litres hot chicken stock (6 cups)
- 1 thyme sprig
- 1 kg black mussels, scrubbed and rinsed
- 1 kg firm white fish fillets, such as striped trumpeter, red mullet and snapper, cut into 10cm pieces
- ½ cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 125 ml clarified butter (½ cup)
- 8 thick slices sourdough
- 1 garlic clove
- 1Heat a casserole over medium heat, add lard and speck, cook until fat renders (3-5 minutes), add onion and stir occasionally until tender (10-15 minutes). Add potato, stock and thyme, bring to the simmer, then reduce heat to low and simmer until potato is tender (10-20 minutes). Remove potato with a slotted spoon, set aside and keep warm.
- 2Bring stock to the boil over high heat, add mussels and stir occasionally until opened (3-5 minutes). Transfer to potato, keep warm.
- 3Reduce heat to medium, add fish to stock, poach until just cooked through (3-5 minutes), add parsley and season to taste.
- 4Meanwhile, for croûtons, heat clarified butter in a frying pan over medium heat, add bread and cook, turning once, until golden (1-2 minutes each side). Rub bread and serving bowls with garlic clove, then discard garlic. Divide croûtons among bowls, top with potatoes and mussels, then ladle over fish and soup. Season liberally with freshly ground black pepper and serve hot.
Note Red rascal potatoes are available from select greengrocers. If unavailable, substitute small Desiree potatoes.
Drink Suggestion: Cloudy, rustic Breton cider. Drink suggestion by Max Allen