News & Politics

Everyday Gourmet: Black Salt’s French Fish Stew

Duplicating Black Salt's Fish Stew on a Budget

Joseph Zumpano's bourride at DC's Black Salt is a bountiful bowl that lingers in the memory. With a base of fumet (fish stock) made rich with Pernod aïoli and cream, this French fish stew is an ambitious undertaking. We challenged Zumpano to simplify it without sacrificing taste.

The recipe below, which takes about an hour, is the result. Clam juice fills in for the fumet, Hellmann's mayo for the aïoli, tarragon for the sorrel, and rockfish for the monkfish. Thanks to the generous pour of heavy cream, which Zumpano says is the key to the bourride's creamy consistency, this everyday version has nearly as much depth of flavor as the original. Except for the optional Pernod, everything is available at supermarkets.

Joseph Zumpano’s Bourride

4 tbsp. canola oil

4 tbsp. chopped garlic

4 tbsp. chopped shallots

4 tbsp. chopped fennel

2 quarts clam juice

1 quart heavy cream

8 tbsp. (one stick) unsalted butter

2 tbsp. chopped tarragon

2 tbsp. chopped flat leaf parsley

1/2 pound haricots verts

4 tbsp. lemon juice

3/4 cup Hellmann's mayonnaise

8 large scallops

1/2 pound rockfish filets cut into four two-ounce pieces

12 shucked oysters

2 pounds salmon filets cut into eight four-ounce pieces

8 slices of French bread each about half an inch thick.

1 cup Pernod (optional)

Blanch haricots verts in boiling water for one minute and set aside. Heat a sauté pan over medium, add canola oil, and sear scallops one minute a side until golden brown (don't crowd the pan). Remove and sear salmon and rockfish two minutes a side until golden brown–scallops, salmon, and rockfish should all be medium rare in the center. Set aside.

In another sauté pan over medium heat, sweat chopped garlic, shallots, and fennel in two ounces of the butter for two minutes. Add heavy cream and, if you're using it, the Pernod and reduce by half, about eight minutes. Add clam juice and reduce by a quarter, about five minutes. Whisk in the rest of the butter a teaspoon at a time. Then whisk in the mayonnaise a tablespoon at a time until combined.

Place salmon, rockfish, and haricots verts on a cookie sheet and warm in a 350-degree oven four minutes until the rockfish flakes; salmon should be dewy and slightly rare inside. Place French-bread slices on another cookie sheet and toast in the oven five minutes.

In the meantime, add parsley, tarragon, lemon juice, and oysters to stew. Simmer for one minute. Adjust with salt and pepper as needed. Place two scallops in a warmed serving bowl. Spoon the bourride over the scallops. Arrange warmed salmon and rockfish filets and haricots verts atop each bowl.

Serve immediately with toasted slices of French bread.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.