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Most of my life in England we lived in Fulham, by the Thames at Putney Bridge. When the great architect, Richard Rogers opened his staff canteen to the public in the mid 80’s we had a genius restaurant within walking distance – the River Café – run by his lovely wife Ruth and the no less lovely Rose Gray. Their’s are among my most precious cookery books – far and away the best for Italian food.

Most of the Italian regions have a sea border, none more so than Liguria where this feast originates. Liguria runs around the Mediterranean in a thin band from France all the way to Tuscany. Liguria’s centre is the port of Genoa, birthplace of Christopher Columbus.

This is an improvement on Bouillabaisse, a meal on its own. Serve it followed by a simple salad and cheese board.

Final comment – like all fish dishes it calls for close attention at the end.

Amounts are for 2 people:

  • 1 salmon steak cut into 4 pieces.
  • 2 chunks monkfish.
  • 1 pack of muscles.
  • 8 jumbo prawns.
  • ½ pack of crab sticks.
  • 4 jumbo scallops.
  • Large pinch red pepper flakes.
  • 1 elephant garlic clove finely chopped.
  • 1 fennel bulb finely sliced (keep the stems and fronds for stock)
  • 1x14oz can chopped tomatoes.
  • Olive oil.
  • ½ pint dry white wine.
  • 1 pint fish stock*.
  • ¼ glass Pernod.
  • Sea salt and black pepper.
  1. Cut fish into bite sized pieces.
  2. Micro wave the packet of muscles, take out the muscles from their shells.
  3. * Use your lobster stock or make the cheat’s version:

1 small tub of Lobster Bisque from Publix or similar, glass of white wine, chopped garlic and chopped fennel fronds softened in olive oil, large pinch of dried tarragon, 1 fish stock cube – boiled to required taste.

  1. Make the tomato base. Soften the chopped garlic, fennel and a pinch of red pepper flakes in olive oil in a covered pan for 10 minutes. Add tin of chopped tomatoes and simmer uncovered till thick and sticky – c 30 minutes.
  2. Add the fish stock to the sauce, mix and then add the fish. Cook for a few minutes till the salmon is barely done.
  3. Serve with chopped parsley in bowls – on the side, toasted slices of baguette, rubbed with garlic and sprinkled with olive oil.