Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse is a traditional Provencal seafood stew that is made with at least 3 kinds of fish and flavored with saffron and traditional Provencal flavors like fennel, tomato, bay, thyme and tarragon.  Traditionally, the soup is served with rouille, a mayonnaise made of olive oil, garlic, saffron and cayenne pepper on grilled bread.

My bouillabaisse is not a traditional version, but it does contain the traditional flavors.  I like to make this with leftover scraps of fish that I keep in my freezer when I buy a piece of fish to cut into fillets.  I usually have some halibut pieces and shrimp in the freezer, which is enough to make this dish (though it doesn’t meet the traditional rule of three types of seafood).  I also like to add clams, mussels or calamari to the stew.

I skip the rouille, and serve this with simple grilled bread rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil.

 boullibaisse

Bouillabaisse
A delicious seafood stew with traditional Provencal flavorings. This is a small batch since I don't like this as a leftover, but it can be easily doubled or tripled for a larger group.
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup white wine
  2. 1 pinch saffron
  3. 2 TBSP olive oil plus more for drizzling
  4. 1/2 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced.
  5. 1/2 small yellow onion, thinly sliced.
  6. 1 rib celery finely sliced
  7. 2 cloves garlic, minced plus 1 clove cut in half
  8. 1 TBSP tomato paste
  9. salt and pepper
  10. 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  11. 1 bay leaf
  12. 1 sprig fresh thyme or 1 pinch dried thyme
  13. 3 cups seafood or vegetable broth
  14. 4 slices of a good, crusty baguette
  15. 4 oz halibut, cod or other firm white fish, cut into 2" cubes.
  16. 6 shrimp
  17. 6 clams
  18. 1 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
  19. 1 TBSP chopped fresh tarragon
Instructions
  1. Place saffron in wine and set aside to allow the saffron to "bloom" and infuse wine.
  2. Heat olive oil to medium heat in a dutch oven or soup pot.
  3. Add fennel, onion, celery and garlic and cook for ~5 minutes until vegetables are softened.
  4. Add tomato paste and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add tomatoes, bay, thyme, and broth and bring to a boil.
  6. While soup is coming to a boil, prepare bread.
  7. Grill bread on a hot grill pan or toast.
  8. Rub grilled bread with cut garlic clove and drizzle with olive oil.
  9. Once soup is boiling, reduce heat to medium low and add clams.
  10. After 3 minutes, add halibut pieces and cook for another 3 minutes.
  11. Add shrimp and cook for another 3 minutes.
  12. Remove soup from heat and stir in half the parsley and tarragon.
  13. Serve immediately garnished with remaining herbs and and with grilled bread on the side.
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