Legendary Dishes | Cotriade (fish, onion and potato soup)

FRANCE

Traditionally made with a selection from angler, eel, gurnard, hake, horse mackerel, mackerel, sardines, sea bream, and no more than a quarter of the total fish weight of 1.6 kg in oily fish (mackerels and sardines), these days cotriade can be made with cod, john dory, langoustines, monkfish, mussels and oysters (and any of above). The constant is the fish stock, herbs, onions, potatoes and vegetables, and bread or breadcrumbs. Samphire is optional but seen as essential in restaurant versions. In other words the cotriade is a chowder from the cauldron tradition, with some versions serving the potatoes in a side dish. This is an adaptation of the rustic version. Quantity is for eight diners.

Stock

  • 2 litres water
  • 1 kg fish and shellfish heads, tails and bones
  • 250 g onion, sliced
  • 150 ml dry white wine (Chablis, Muscadet)
  • 125 g celery, sliced
  • 100 g fennel bulb, sliced
  • 2 lemons, juice
  • 30 ml sunflower oil
  • 30 g butter
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 10 juniper berries
  • 5 sprigs marjoram
  • 5 sprigs thyme

Sauté vegetables in butter and oil in a large pot over a medium heat for 15 minutes, add fish. Reduce heat and fry covered for five minutes. Add juniper, marjoram, peppercorns, thyme, water and wine. Bring to the boil, simmer for 30 minutes. Add lemon juice, strain. 

Soup

  • 1.8 ml fish stock
  • 1.6 kg (600 g monkfish cut into 3 cm chunks, 400 g mackerel fillets cut into 2 cm thick strips, 300 g gurnard cut into 3 cm chunks, 200 g langoustines shelled,
  • 16 mussels half shelled
  • 8 oysters shelled
  • 8 thick slices country bread
  • 500 g potatoes, large diced
  • 400 g onions, sliced
  • 150 ml white wine
  • 80 g butter
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 sprigs parsley, chopped
  • Seasonings

In a large deep pot saute garlic and onion in the butter over a medium heat, add 

potatoes, cover with 1.2 litres of fish stock, simmer for 25 minutes, until potatoes are done. Pour wine and remaining stock into a deep frying pan, poach gurnard, monkfish, mackerel and langoustines for three minutes, dip oysters in for a few seconds, remove with slotted spoon and strain liquid into vegetable soup. Place a slice of bread in a soup bowl, an eighth of the fish (except the mussels), cover with the vegetable soup. Garnish with parsley and two mussels in their half shells. Repeat for each bowl.