Bouillabaise is a fish stew with lots of different fish and seafood in a hearty saffron broth. It’s served alongside toast with a “rouille”, like a pepper aioli. It’s absolutely heaven! This soup originated in the South of France, Provence. I never end up spending the type of money on a variety of fish to stay true to the original recipe but I keep the basics in mind with my version. If you’re only using one or two seafood ingredients, make sure to get the best quality you can afford. In my case, I use spot prawns whenever I find them and Alaskan cod. You could just as easily substitute with a local snapper and clams, or striped bass and mussels. For a traditional recipe, click here.
Makes 4 servings
1 small fennel bulb, sliced 1/4” thin
1 small leek, sliced 1/4” thin
4 C water
6 oz white wine
8 creamer potatoes
6 oz tomato purée
2 garlic cloves
1 TSP smoked paprika
1 egg yolk
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
1/3 LB shrimp, shell on
1 LB Alaskan cod, cut into 3” pieces
2-3 large slices of sourdough
1/4 TSP saffron
Fill your sauce pot with the potatoes, water, shrimp shells, fennel scraps, leek scraps, and 1 garlic clove to boil. Simmer until the potatoes are just cooked through (test with the small point of a knife so that they just release when poked).
In a large dutch oven, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sweat the sliced leeks and fennel over very low heat. After 3-4 minutes, add the white wine and reduce by half. Then add the tomatoes and continue to cook over a very low simmer.
In the mortar and pestle, or a food processor, pound the garlic into a paste, then add 1 cooked and peeled potato, and the egg yolk. Once there are only very small lumps, add the smoked paprika, salt, and olive oil drop by drop as if you’re making a mayonnaise. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
By now the potatoes should be removed from the stock and slice them in half. Add them to the dutch oven, and using a strainer pour the shrimp stock into the dutch oven. Add the saffron and increase the heat to a medium low to bring to a simmer. Add the fish and shrimp and cover for 3 minutes until they are cooked through. Taste the broth for seasoning and stir to make sure the saffron is well combined. Spread the rouille over the toast, and serve at the table in shallow bowls for dunking.