A white broth seafood soup with a dash of red on top.|
- 1 large live lobster
- 2 large peeled and chopped tomatoes
- 1 large chopped white onion
- 4 chopped garlic cloves
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 pound boiling potatoes
- ⅓ cup finely chopped Achin Root fronds
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ tsp crumbled saffron threads
- 1½ Tbsp sea salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 9 cups white fish stock
- 3 pounds bony rockfish fillets, cut into 2-inch pieces
- ½ pound scrubbed cockles/small hard-shelled clams
- ½ pound scrubbed and beardless mussels
- ½ pound large shelled shrimp
- 3 Tbsp water
- 3 egg yolks
- ¾ cup fresh bread crumbs (ideally from a crustless baguette)
- 3 garlic cloves
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp cayenne
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
Bolhabaissa is a traditional Tolonne fish stew, utilizing a number of vegetables for the broth, and served with a special spiced mayonnaise known as rouille. The dish likely evolved from food fed to the slaves of the island by their Altalar masters, but now enjoys widespread consumption in many port towns and cities across Aloria thanks to the travels of Tolonne sailors and minstrels. The dish is often noted by outsiders for its unique use of usually unappetizing boney rockfish, largely seen as gross due to their physical appearance but quite nutritious when consumed.
The Tolonne who crafted Bolhabaissa are lost to time, so ancient and longstanding is the creation of this food. Many suspect that its almost haphazard combination of various seafood elements might indicate that it was originally slave food, made of the gruel and table scraps of the Altalar nobles who made Solacia their home centuries ago. This theory goes that after they left, the Tolonne gradually elevated their dish, turning it from slopp into splendor, and a meal fit for all of their society. This theory is the most commonly accepted one by those of cultural history, given that all the other options are most certainly more modern inventions. However, each of those stories holds some truth as well because as the Tolonne sailed far and wide, they returned with substances, spices and more which have helped contribute to the modern dish. Rouille, for example, is a heavily altered version of mayonnaise, originally invented by the Burdigala around 210 AC. As a result of the broad Tolonne spread abroad, Bolhabaissa has accompanied them as well, and so is now popular in a wide variety of coastal cities from Daen to Farah’deen. While making use of multiple working parts, the dish can still be eaten by all given its affordable nature thanks to it thriving in trade cities, where most ingredients are not too expensive to attain.
Bolhabaissa is often a dish that demands to be made with speed and the rapid combination of ingredients, so preparation ahead of time is often advocated by those not confident in their skills. The lobster must first be cooked alive, then placed into an 8-quart pot of boiling water for two minutes. It should then be removed from the water and placed in a colander in order to cool enough until it is capable of being handled. In the meantime, the water can be discarded. Once the lobster has cooked, its claws and knuckles should be removed and then cracked, with the two pieces further separated out. The body and tail should be lengthwise halved before being cut crosswise into two-inch pieces. All of this should ideally be done in a single pan so that the lobster juice can be maintained. Meanwhile, the tomatoes, onions and garlic should be cooked and stirred in a pot (ideally the same one) with olive oil over moderate heat. This should proceed until the onions have softened at which point the potatoes should be peeled, cut into small cubes and added into the mixture alongside the fronds, bay leaf, saffron, sea salt and pepper. After further stirring, the stock should be added and the entire substance brought to a boil.
It should then be taken down to a simmer for up to ten minutes, or until the potato cubes are nearly tender. At this point the whole array of seafood should be thrown in, with a two minute simmering break after the fish and cockles go in first. The dish should then be removed from the heat after the mussels have opened. Meanwhile, for the rouille, the water needs to be poured over the bread crumbs in a bowl. The garlic, eggs, sea salt and cayenne should be mashed into a paste, with the moistened crumbs added afterward before being mashed even further. The oil should be added slowly as mashing and stirring continues, eventually resulting in the final product. Three tablespoons of the soup’s broth can be spooned and mixed into the rouille if desired, but if not, the soup can be poured into bowls for serving with the fish and shellfish going in first followed by the broth. Each serving should be topped by a teaspoon of the rouille, with the rest served on the side for those who need more of it. Additionally, some people add croutons underneath or on the side as well, but they are not required.
- Bolhabaissa looks delicious, with a white broth swimming with small specs of seafood and other ingredients, while the center often has a cluster of seafood topped by a blip of red, the rouille.
- The dish, obviously, has the heavy scent of seafood.
- Bolhabaissa tastes complex and like seafood, but the distinct taste of mussels, fish and so on can be detected in each spoonful due to their blending together (or their presence on the spoon). Additionally, there is a spicy tinge and should croutons exist, a slight crunch despite the excess of liquid.
- The Troubadour Marçau de Lemozine is credited with having introduced Bolhabaissa to no less than 23 cities across Ithania and wider Corontium on his legendary travels from 230 to 241 AC.
- Marçau de Lemozine himself is sometimes credited with the invention of Bolhabaissa, though when asked, he’d merely strum out “I never met a fish a Tolonne couldn’t prepare in full splendor”.
HydraLana on 09/19/2020.|
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