(Soupe des Pêcheurs)
SERVES 4 – 6
This is Chez Magne's version of the puréed fish soup typical in coastal France.
2 1/2–3 lbs. cleaned assorted whole (heads-on)
small white-fleshed ocean fish such as hake,
whiting, and monkfish, cut into large pieces
2 small waxy potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
10 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
12–18 slices baguette, toasted
4 oz. gruyère, grated
1. Put fish, potatoes, and pepper to taste into a medium pot. Add enough water to cover fish (about 5 cups) and bring to a boil over high heat, skimming foam as it rises to the surface. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile, crush garlic and 1 tbsp. salt together with a mortar and pestle to a coarse paste. Gradually drizzle in oil, stirring and crushing constantly with the pestle until a smooth paste forms. Set garlic paste aside.
3. Working in small batches, put soup mixture (heads, bones, and all) into a food processor and pulse 5–7 times or until mixture is coarsely ground. Pass soup through a food mill into a large bowl, pressing as much of the solids through as possible. Finally, purée soup in a blender until smooth. Return soup to pot and heat over medium heat until hot. Whisk garlic paste into soup and adjust seasonings. Whisk egg yolk and vinegar together in a small bowl, whisk a ladleful of the hot soup into the egg mixture, then stir egg mixture back into soup. Do not allow soup to boil; it will curdle.
4. To serve, put 3 croutons into each of 4–6 soup bowls, top each crouton with some cheese, then ladle soup into bowls.