French rouille sauce is a thick, bread-enriched sauce that gets much of its flavor and color from saffron. You can think of it like a fancier take on mayonnaise, and it works well paired with any fish dish or fish soup. Done right, rouille is a beautiful, spicy garlic sauce that goes well with cold steamed shrimp, any fried fish or seafood, or as a sauce with firm grilled seafood such as swordfish, sturgeon or Pacific white seabass.
Perhaps the most notable pairing for rouille is with bouillabaisse, a famous French dish. Bouillabaisse is the most famous Mediterranean fish stew, made in port towns throughout Provence. According to Roman mythology, Venus, the goddess of love, served bouillabaisse to her husband Vulcan, the god of fire, to make him fall asleep while she had an affair with Mars, the Roman god of war. The Greeks also stake a claim on the origins of bouillabaisse, dating it back to 600 B.C. and a fish soup called kakavia, which some Greek food writers say was the basis for the future bouillabaisse. Whatever its origins, bouillabaisse is the ideal dish to serve topped with French rouille sauce. Try this recipe to make authentic, delicious rouille in just minutes.
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon water
- Pinch of saffron
- 2-3 slices of white bread, with the crusts removed
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/4 teaspoon chile powder
- Salt to taste
- Heat the water, vinegar and saffron in a microwave for 30 seconds. Mix well until you have a very yellow liquid.
- Cut the white bread into chunks and then pour the saffron mixture over them in a large bowl. Mix well and make sure you get all the saffron.
- Put the bread mixture into a food processor and then add the garlic, egg yolks and chile powder. Blend it for about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides. Blend again on low power, then drizzle in the olive oil slowly.
- Pour the sauce, which should be like thick mayonnaise, into a bowl and refrigerate. This can be made a day before you need it, and it will hold up fairly well for three to four days covered in the refrigerator
- If the rouille is stiff before serving, you can thin it by adding a few drops of boiling water and stirring it into the mixture.
Did You Know: Food History - Origin of Bouillabaisse. (n.d.). Retrieved November 20, 2016, from http://www.cliffordawright.com/caw/food/entries/display.php/id/70/
Provence & Beyond. (n.d.). Rouille Recipe. Retrieved November 20, 2016, from http://www.beyond.fr/food/rouille.html