"What's for Dinner, Honey?" Peter's Bouillabaisse

Every Friday Betty carries a recipe from someone in town, inspired by what's fresh at the Hingham Farmers Market.  They are creative, not-so-much-with-the-measuring type of recipes.  So feel free to improvise [that's what Betty calls her mistakes--improvisations.]

This week, Signe [our farmers market foodie] finagled Peter Bickford's recipe for bouillabaisse. She loves any excuse to pull up the long dusty drive to his barn. In it, she says the swallows will swoop close enough to hear your conversation. Let your eyes wander and behold the finest carpentry around. His greenhouse has the earliest and most beautiful tomatoes in all of Hingham. He raises pigs and chickens, grows hay, and can restore an old house to perfection. He is a purist, a town supporter, a lover of nature, a gardener, but dearest to his heart is farming. He learned from his mother, who had a big garden behind their house on Leavitt St. growing up.  Peter usually clams at Duxbury beach for his bivalves- get yours at the Farmers market or Mullaney's in Cohasset.

Bouillabaise  from: Peter Bickford

  • olive oil, maybe a 1/4 c
  • 2 pinches of red pepper flakes
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 t saffron threads
  • 2 t parsley
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 2 C clam broth
  • 1 C white wine [a little for cooking, a little for the cook]
  • 3/4 C diced tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • 20 oysters
  • 20 clams scrubbed clean
  • 1 lb jumbo shrimp
  • 24 mussels, scrubbed clean
  • 1 1/2 lb. halibut filets

Sautee garlic and red pepper flakes, add white wine, clam broth and tomatoes. Cook for ten minutes until flavors come together. Add clams, mussels and oysters. Cook until the shells open. Remove shellfish and transfer to large bowl. Add shrimp to tomato broth and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to the bowl with the shellfish. Add halibut and simmer until cooked through. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour the tomato broth over the shellfish and halibut and serve in large shallow bowls.

Serve with peasant style bread from Bloomy Rind, a summer salad and... how about a Cotes du Rhone? Voila!