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Joie Provencal Recipes

Fish Soup with Onions Stewed in Saffron

6 - 8 Servings



  • 2 Sea bass (about 5 pounds), or halibut pieces, filleted and skinned - save bones
  • 2 pounds of mussels
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 3 carrots, peeled, finely diced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 2 yellow onions, peeled and finely diced
  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 cups cold water
  • ¾ tsp sea salt


  • 3 T olive oil
  • 4 onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 spring of thyme
  • pinch of saffron (about 20 threads)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ lb. Small red-skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into thin wedges

Pistou for finishing

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup finely chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 T virgin olive oil


  • 6-quart stainless steel pot
  • 3-quart saucepan or fry pan
  • 4-quart stainless steel pot
  • mortar and pestle

1. Prepare the Broth

  • For whole sea bass, remove the gills, and cut the carcass into three or four large pieces. Rinse the head, carcass under cold water. Make cuts on either side of the pin bones running vertically down the fillet and remove this strip of fish containing the bones. Reserve these scraps for the broth. Cut the fillets into 1-inch pieces and set aside on a plate. Scrub the mussels thoroughly. It is not necessary to de-beard them.
  • Warm the olive oil in a 6-stainless steel pot. Add the pieces of fish carcass and cook them, turning them over to expose all surfaces to the heat, until their colour changes to white and the fragrance of the fish is released. Add the wine and scrape up any bits of fish adhering to the bottom of the pot. Add the vegetables, mussels, herbs, bay leaves water and salt. Make certain all pieces of the fish are submerged in the water. Bring to a simmer, skim any white froth that comes to the surface and cook slowly for 30 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the onions and potatoes.

2. Preparing the Onions & Potatoes

  • Warm the olive oil in a heavy, 3-quart saucepan. Add the onions, bay leaves, thyme, saffron, salt and pepper. Combine well and cook the onion over low heat, without letting them brown, for 25 minutes, or until they are very soft. Stir the onions often to prevent sticking.
  • In a pot, bring the water to a boil, ad the salt and the potatoes and cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until just tender throughout. Drain. Prepare the garlic and parsley mixture.

3. Preparing Pistou

  • Pound the garlic to a paste in a mortar, add the parsley and pound it into a similar consistency - stir in the olive oil.

4. Serving the Soup

  • Strain the broth over the onions and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and simmer for 3 minutes, add the fish and cook at a bare simmer for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the parsley and garlic mixture. Serve in warm soup bowls.

Almond & Prune Tart perfumed with Lavender

12 Servings


Tart Crust

  • 1 cups all purpose flour
  • 6 T unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • cup icing sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • vanilla bean, scraped
  • zest of one lemon

Almond Cream or frangipan

  • 3 oz (90ml) of unsalted butter
  • 3 oz (90 g) of ground almonds
  • 3 oz (90g) of icing sugar
  • 2 T (20ml) of pastry flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 T of almond extract or vanilla
  • zest of one orange
  • 1 Tbsp culinary lavender (blue rosea or pink)

12 dried prunes, plumped in sweet wine or apple juice.


  • Rolling pin
  • 9" tart pan
  • Food processor or grater
  • Stand-up or hand-held mixer
  • Scale
  • Several stainless-steel bowls
  • Spatula
  • Small saucepan

Preparing the Pastry
Place the flour, icing sugar, lemon zest and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and process lightly until the ingredients form a fine crumb. Mix the vanilla seeds into the egg yolks. Add this yolk mixture to the dry ingredients and process this until the ingredients hold together. Bring the dough together gently. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours before using.

Preparing the Almond Cream
Cream the butter in a stand-up mixer until very soft. Combine the ground almonds and icing sugar and add this to the butter. Add the eggs very slowly, beating well after each addition. Stir in the extract, zest, lavender and flour.

Assembling the Tart
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Roll out 8 oz of the pastry, line the tart shell, and chill the shell before baking.

Once the shell is chilled, blind bake the shell for 15 min. Remove the beans from the tart. Let tart cool slightly. While tart is cooling, cut the plumped prunes in half. Spread the almond cream on to the bottom of the tart crust. Place prunes in concentric circles round the tart into the almond cream. Bake tart for approx. 25 min or until a skewer comes out clean from the center of the tart.

Cool tart slightly before eating.

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