Tuesday, May 29, 2012


One of France's most rugged regions, the northwestern province of Brittany, is a captivating blend of spectacular coastline, verdant countryside, ancient towns with castles and medieval cobbled streets, stone megaliths, exquisite islands, inland woods and inviting sandy beaches.

 Jutting out into the Atlantic, between the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay; Brittany was a Celtic duchy for more than one thousand years before its annexation to France in the 16th century.  It is a land rich in culture, tradition and history. Even today, one-fourth of Brittany speaks Breton, a language closely related to Celtic Cornish and Welsh. Many habitu├ęs prefer beer over wine.

Brittany is also famous for their large number of Michelin starred chefs, and is the birthplace of crepes.
Surrounded by the sea, Brittany’s coastal location offers a wide selection of seafood dishes; but of particular note are the fish stews, which provide a popular, hearty meal and use a wide variety of fish.

One particularly tempting seafood dish is Cotriade (co tree ahd), a specialty of Brittany. Cotriade is a wonderful fish stew, sometimes made from monkfish and/or mackerel and mixed with onions, parsley, white wine, garlic and potatoes, and is traditionally served with crusty baguette slices.

Adapted from Practical One Pot, Parragon Book, Bath, UK 2002

Cotriade – Fish Stew from Brittany           Serves 4
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron
  • 2 ½ cups fish bouillon or stock, heated
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 leek trimmed and sliced
  • 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound potatoes, pared and cut into chunks
  • 2/3 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 ½ teaspoons dried
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 pounds mixed fish filets, such as haddock, cod, mackerel etc
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • Crusty bread

  1. Crush the saffron in a mortar and pestle or spice grinde
  2. Stir into heated fish bouillon and then let steep for ten minutes
  3. Heat oil and butter together in a large saucepan
  4. Stir in the onion and cook 4 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally
  5. Stir in the garlic, leek, fennel and potatoes
  6. Cover and cook for about ten minutes or until the vegetables are almost softened
  7. Pour in the wine, stir, turn up the heat, and gently boil for three minutes
  8. Check level, wine should be reduced by about half
  9. Stir in the thyme, bay leaves and tomatoes
  10. Add the saffron/fish bouillon
  11. Bring to the boil, lower heat and cover
  12. Simmer gently for about ten minutes so that all vegetables become tender
  13. Add the fish, bring to the boil and then simmer for only three minutes
  14. Stir in the parsley and season to taste
With a slotted spoon, remove the fish and vegetables to a warmed serving dish.

 Traditionally, the soup portion is served separately followed by the fish and vegetables, but you could serve it as one dish.

Last time I served this Brittany fish stew, the hummers came out. After every mouthful it was hmm, umm, hmm, almost ad infinitum; and why not?  It’s that good.

Enjoy Cotriade, a fine fish stew from Brittany soon.



Sarah Allen said...

Ooh, this looks delicious! Haven't heard of it before either.

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

Torviewtoronto said...

yummy delicious flavours looks wonderful

ladydragonfly said...

Absolutely mouthwatering! I will have to try this very soon.

Lynn Proctor said...

this is a beautiful looking dish---and bet it tastes as wonderful too

Delicious Adventures said...

Looks absolutely delicious.

Misha Gericke said...

Ooh that looks like something I should try to make this winter. Should be affordable, since I'm by the sea...

Anonymous said...

Hi Anthony! Sounds like an interesting dish.

Jean said...

I love this one! You are a neverending source of inspiration!

jean :)

Missed Periods said...

This looks so delicious I am vowing to make it.

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

You almost lost me at "mortar and pestle." But since it's seafood, I stuck around. Sounds fantastic. You rock.

anthony stemke said...

SARAH ALLEN: It is delicious Sarah, cotriade is classic in Brittany, I'd love to visit there.

TORVIEWTORONTO: Yes, and it tastes as good as it looks, not to mention the captivating aroma.

LADYDRAGONFLY: Thanks, when you do you will be very pleased.

LYNN PROCTOR: You would definately win that bet Lynn.

DELICIOUS ADVENTURES: Thanks, it tastes as good as it looks.

MISHA GERICKE: I hope you do try this. After you make it once, you will want to serve it to friends, who will be impressed by your good taste.

SUSANNE DRAZIC: Hello Susanne. Cotriade is wonderful, I hope you get to sample it soon.

JEAN: Thanks for those sweet words Jean. Cotriade is a great seafood dish.

MISSED PERIODS: I hope you keep that vow Miss Missed,you will love it for sure.

DAWN @ LIGHTEN UP!: Didn't mean to scare you, phew!I dodged a bullet there.
Cotriade is fantastic, try to get your spouse to make some for you.

Jehanne said...

oh this looks delicious..I am getting fonder of fish nowadays, so this recipe is a sure keeper.

LoLy said...

WOW, Looks heavenly amazing :)
Good to come back, I miss this place :D

anthony stemke said...

JEHANNE: You got that right, Cotriade is a keeper, wait till you try it.

LOLY: Happy to hear from you, hope all is well.
Cotriade is delicious.

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