One of the most inspiring places I have ever been is Biot, in the hills above Antibes in the South of France. John and I were there in 1996, can't remember how long we stayed but long enough to make a baby, and long enough that the Bourride at Hotel les Arcades was engraved to a collective memory, the most inspired dish on this emerald earth.

A simple enough preparation, we make fish soup now with what we have, adding taste layers but never messing with the elements. You've got to have clam broth and saffron, and a good little tin of tomato paste. The rest you can improvise. The affect of Bourride, our fish soup, is coals for a snow day or shade for a sunny one. This is creative perfection.


Preparation time: 25 minutes

INGREDIENTS (be creative)

  • 6 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup of chopped onions
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup of fresh chopped tomato (about 1 medium sized tomato)
  • 2 tsp of tomato paste.
  • 8 oz of clam juice (comes in a glass bottle in the soup aisle or at the seafood counter)
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 lb fish fillets (like halibut, cod, monk fish), cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1-2 sweet Italian sausage links, chopped in bite sized pieces
  • 6-10 Mussels, washed and picked clean
  • Sprinkle of dried oregano, thyme, black pepper, Tobasco
  • 10 or 15 strands of saffron
  • Salt

1 Heat olive oil in heavy large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and garlic and sauté 4 minutes. Add parsley and stir 2 minutes. Add tomato, tomato paste and cook 2 minutes longer.

2 Add clam juice, dry white wine, and fish and simmer until fish is cooked through, less than 10 minutes. Add seasoning. Salt to taste. Ladle into bowls and serve.

Serves 4

With it, Manchego cheese and the bread you love, a plate of butter lettuce drizzled with good olive oil, the juice of a fresh lemon and a palmful of salt.

Night Fishing at Antibes, Picasso, August 1939. Click to learn about it.

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