Bullinada (Catalan Fish Stew With Aioli)
Bullinada is a creamy Catalonian seafood stew infused with saffron and garlicky mayonnaise, and brimming with potatoes. This version, made entirely from fish fillets rather than a combination of fish and seafood, is adapted from the cookbook “Claudia Roden’s Mediterranean.” Ms. Roden writes that “it has a mysterious, delicate flavor and beautiful warm color,” and that you can make it mostly in advance. Just add the fish a few minutes before serving so you can be sure it won’t overcook.
- Serves: 6 persons
- 2tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1large yellow onion, diced
- 8garlic cloves, 6 minced and 2 finely grated, passed through a press or crushed to a paste
- ¼teaspoon saffron threads
- 8cups fish stock, or use a combination of vegetable stock and clam juice
- ½cup dry white wine
- 1 ¾pounds new potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
- 1teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
- Strips of zest from 1/2 orange
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 ¾pounds skinless fish fillets, such as hake or monkfish
- ¾cup prepared mayonnaise
- Juice of 1/2 lemon, plus more to taste
- ½teaspoon Aleppo pepper, plus more for serving
- ½cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves, plus more for serving
Step 1In a large pot, heat oil over medium. Add onions, stirring occasionally, and cook until they begin to soften, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the minced garlic and cook until fragrant and lightly golden, 1 minute.
Step 2Stir in saffron, and pour in fish stock and wine. Add potatoes, fennel seeds, orange peel, a large pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 25 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
Step 3Season fish with salt and pepper. Remove orange peels from soup and add fish. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat until fish is opaque and flaky, 4 to 14 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets. Using a metal spatula or knife, break the fish into chunks.
Step 4In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, remaining garlic and Aleppo pepper. Slowly stir in a ladle of hot stock into mayonnaise mixture. Gently stir mayonnaise mixture into simmering soup. Heat through, without reaching a boil (the mayonnaise will curdle). Stir in parsley and taste, adding more salt if you’d like. When serving, garnish with more parsley and Aleppo.