The Upper Normandy fish stew is called Marmite Dieppoise to recall the city of Dieppe, where this traditional dish was first cooked. Fish food is definitely a gem of the Upper Normandy gastronomy, competing with the Mediterranean equivalent from Provence Alpes Cote d'Azur, the well-known Bouillabaisse.
According to the Norman legends, the Marmite Dieppoise was originally created in the 1960s, in an authentic tavern for mariners and sailors set close to the quays in Dieppe. Mrs. Maurice, the owner, had named this restaurant "La Marmite Dieppoise", and she was renowned in the region for her A la Dieppoise (Dieppe-style) fish dishes, combining flavourful seafood with fresh fishes.
Part of Upper Normandy's convivial gastronomy, this traditional casserole used to be prepared with the leftovers of the catch or using the varieties of seafood that were easily delivered, such as shrimps and mussels.
In that sense, in France, Marmite Dieppoise rivals the well-known Mediterranean Bouillabaisse - fish stew from Marseille - but the Upper Normandy's speciality makes the difference with its spices - cayenne pepper, paprika or curry - and regional, refined butter and cream.
Respecting the tradition, the Marmite Dieppoise recipe is based on local fish and seafood of superior quality. Turbot, sole, red mullet, complemented with fresh celery, parsley, leek, onions and spices, are the mainstays of the fish stew whilst mussels are cooked in a separate pot.
The final steps consist in arranging fishes and shellfishes at the bottom of the marmite, adding some "creme fraiche" to the fish stock before pouring it above the fishes. A few mussels eventually top the casserole - a real pleasure for both the eyes and palate!