This rich and creamy soup is a favorite in the coastal regions of France.
Yield: serves 4-6
- 2 1⁄2 - 3 lb. 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- To serve, put 3 croutons into each of 4–6 soup bowls, top each crouton with some cheese, then ladle soup into bowls.