In the old port of Marseilles, at the famous restaurant,”Mirimar”
Taxi to the place, instantly guided to my table, past the queue, .
Sit overlooking the harbour, in sight of Fort St Nicholas and Notre Dam de la Garde.
I am in the care of master chef, Christian Buffa, who visits all of his guests… he shakes my hand in welcome, then oversees his kitchen, where is prepared for me, Rascasse (scorpion fish), Lotte (monkfish), Rouge Grondin (red gurnard), St Pierre (john dory), Vive (weever), Congre (eel), Mussels, Etrille velvet crab, in traditional and exquisite Provençal broth.
My journey here has been long and is of importance.
So after 50years (and that’s just my lifetime… what about my dad’s?).
40million invested in the show that brings me (some of it mine).
20,000 audience this weekend alone (they were very loud).
19,000 kilometers on a bus (1000 of them tomorrow)
200 Kilos (and yes it hurts)
And more than I’ve earnt for my eight hours of work today.
I raise my glass & fork to family & friends, and thank them for getting me here.
A bounty of the sea.
Here’s the recipe from Christian:
– 4 weevers
– 2 dories
– 4 gurnards
– 1 anglerfish
– 2 capons
– 1 eel
– kilos of rockfish soup
– salt, pepper, onions, garlic, saffron, olive oil, sticks and grains of fennel, parsley, potatoes, tomatoes and 2 glasses of Pastis.
Thin slice the onions, crush the garlic and brown all in 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Cut the 3 tomatoes in pieces. Add a tablespoon of tomato purée, the pieces of tomatoes, the dried fennel and 2 doses of saffron. Add the 2 kilos of rockfish and fill up with water (up to 4 cms over the fish). Add salt and pepper and cook for 20 minutes.
Blend the fish soup, seep it through and cook for an extra 10 minutes.
1. Peel and slice the potatoes (2 cms thick), to be added to the fish soup.
2. According to size, place the fish on top of the potatoes in the fish kettle. Lay it in decreasing order : gurnard, weever, dory, anglerfish, eel, capon. On option, you can add slipper lobsters or a spiny lobster .
3. Fill up the kettle with the left over soup, it needs to be well covered. Check the seasoning. Add the saffron, cook at high heat for 5 minutes then set to low and cook for 30 mns.
4. The spicy Provençal sauce « rouille » : whip up the sauce with 3 yokes as for an ailloli. Add the salt, crushed garlic, then drizzle with olive oil and add the saffron.
5. Slice the bread in croutons (1 cm thick) , rub with garlic and soak in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Put them in the oven (220°C). Then spread them with a tablespoon of Rouille. Serve the soup, topped with the croutons, in small tureens.
6. Serve the fish separately.
7. The secret of the chef : Before serving, pour a good dose of pastis in the broil and whisk.
8. Serve in the presentation tureen.
And his autograph…