AN­NIE SMITHERS

The Saturday Paper - - Front Page -

We talk a lot about waste th­ese days. And a great deal about the hor­ren­dous pil­fer­ing of the oceans and the dev­as­tat­ing ef­fect this will have on our fu­tures and the fu­ture of the planet. It is a sub­ject many of us grap­ple with ev­ery day in our choices. Many would say the choice is sim­ple, just live dif­fer­ently and give up all foods that con­tin­u­ally dam­age the planet. Un­for­tu­nately the prob­lem is never that straight­for­ward and the so­lu­tions en­tail a com­plex dis­man­tling of the world that has evolved.

The world’s food cul­tures are based on prac­tices and en­vi­ron­ments that ex­isted long ago. We have not al­ways been as ab­surdly greedy or waste­ful as we are now. If you look care­fully you will find myr­iad in­spir­ing dishes that use every­thing ed­i­ble from a crea­ture. One of the things I like to do is tar­get th­ese recipes that use what are usu­ally dis­carded in­gre­di­ents. If we are go­ing to fish our oceans, which man has done for more than 40,000 years, it is in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant to use ev­ery part of the fish that we pos­si­bly can.

This is the most beau­ti­ful fish soup recipe – it hails from Provence, France – which uses the bones and, some­times, the head of the fish. It’s easy to for­get when you buy an ex­pen­sive fil­let of fish that there’s a whole head and skele­ton go­ing to waste, and there is so much good meat left on those bones. This recipe also re­minds us that, as years go by, we need to re­mem­ber the lessons from the past and use food in a way that re­spects both the beast and the earth.

This recipe is col­lo­qui­ally known as a Provençale fish soup. It’s a rich, hearty dish best served with gar­lic croutes and rouille. I have made it here us­ing just the skele­tons, as clean­ing fish heads can be a bit of a strug­gle for a novice. For best re­sults the soup needs to be passed through a food mill or mouli with the medium disc fit­ted. This cre­ates the dis­tinc­tive tex­ture of the soup. And if you hap­pen to find your­self in Paris in the next lit­tle while, I can cer­tainly rec­om­mend the ver­sion you will

• find at Le Dôme.

Pho­tog­ra­phy: Earl Carter

AN­NIE SMITHERS is the owner and chef of du Fer­mier in Tren­tham, Vic­to­ria. She is a food edi­tor of The Satur­day Pa­per.

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