Bouillabaisse is France’s classic Mediterranean fisherman’s stew. Fresh local fish and shellfish in a sublime sauce of orange peel, saffron, and fennel. It’s the perfect way to enjoy seafood. Peel the shrimp, reserving the shrimp shells.
|SERVES||PREPARATION||COOK TIME|| |
|2-3||20 minutes||40 minutes||EASY|
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup each chopped onion and leek
- 4 cloves smashed garlic
- 2 or 3 large, ripe tomatoes, chopped or 2 cups canned
- 2 1/2 quarts water
- Fresh herb sprigs: thyme, parsley, fennel fronds and basil (in any combination)
- 1/2 teaspoon crumbled saffron
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 3 – 4 pounds fish heads, bones, trimmings, shrimp shells
- 1 pound each: peeled shrimp (use the shells for the stock); wild cod, halibut or other flaky white fish, cut into large chunks; debearded, scrubbed mussels or clams
- Crusty bread, sliced
- 1 roasted and peeled red bell pepper
- 1 roasted hot red chile pepper or ground cayenne pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 small peeled garlic clove
- 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs or finely chopped almonds
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
- Fine sea salt, about 1/2 teaspoon or to taste
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the soup:
- Heat the oil in a tall pot (I use an 8 quart stockpot) over medium heat; add the onion and leek and cook gently until softened. Stir in the garlic and cook for a minute until fragrant, then add the tomatoes, water, herbs, saffron, salt and fish bones and shrimp shells. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat so that the broth bubbles slowly without boiling.
- Cook 30 minutes, then strain the broth into a large bowl or another pot and discard the solids.
- Pour the broth back into the stockpot and bring to a boil. Add the shrimp and cook until they turn pink, a minute or two. Add the rest of the fish and shellfish, cover and simmer until the mussels or clams open (this will just take a few minutes).
- Taste the soup and add more salt and freshly ground pepper if needed.
Make the rouille:
- Puree everything except for the olive oil in a food processor until smooth. Slowly add the olive oil while processing to form a paste.
- Toast the bread and brush with olive oil.
- Serve the soup with bread and rouille.