Kakavia, the Greek equivalent of “bouillabaisse”
This wonderful fish soup may have been introduced to western Europe during the 8th-7th centuries BC via the Greek colony of Massilia (Marseilles), in which case it is probably the forerunner of the French bouillabaisse.
5 fl oz (1/4 litre) olive oil
1 lb. (500g) thinly sliced white onions
2 carrots, diced, 1 stick celery, chopped, plus a few green leaves
2 crushed cloves garlic
1 can (13fl oz/400 ml) peeled tomatoes, liquidised with their juice
3 pints (1 1/2 litres) water or fish stock
1 wineglass dry white wine (optional) bay leaf, salt and pepper
3 lb. (1.5 kg) various fish, gutted, scaled and cleaned but heads intact, and 2 lb.
(1kg) Seafood, cleaned and shells scrubbed. Use gurnard, rascasse, cod,
mussels, monkfish, prawns – literally anything available!)
2 peeled potatoes, juice of 1 lemon
1 tbs. finely chopped fresh, flat-leaved parsley
Heat the olive oil gently and sautÃ© the onions lightly. Add the carrots, celery and garlic and coat well with the oil, then add the tomatoes, water or stock, wine (optional), bay leaf, salt and pepper and simmer for about .30 minutes. Strain off the liquid and reserve the vegetables. In the meantime clean the mussels and other shellfish if you are using them, discard any open ones and steam for two minutes in a little water in a closed pan until they open – this will ensure that they are safe to use. Discard any that do not open.
Return the liquid from the vegetables to the pan, and continue: to simmer, but begin adding the fish according to size – whole, including the heads if they will fit into the saucepan, otherwise cut them into pieces. Add the largest fish first, simmer for 10 minutes, then the shellfish, potatoes, any shrimps or prawns in their shells and the smaller fish. Simmer gently:
Each kind of fish or seafood should be tender but not falling apart. Strain the soup off the fish and carefully remove any visible bones, shells (also from the shrimps or prawns) or inedible parts. Add the vegetables and re-warm. Place some of’ the fish and vegetables in each serving bowl, and pour over the soup. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to each bowl. Serves 4