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.



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.


  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 2 TBSP olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • 1/2 small fennel bulb thinly sliced.
  • 1/2 small yellow onion thinly sliced.
  • 1 rib celery finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced plus 1 clove cut in half
  • 1 TBSP tomato paste
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 roma tomatoes diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme or 1 pinch dried thyme
  • 3 cups seafood or vegetable broth
  • 4 slices of a good crusty baguette
  • 4 oz halibut cod or other firm white fish, cut into 2" cubes.
  • 6 shrimp
  • 6 clams
  • 1 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 TBSP chopped fresh tarragon


  • Place saffron in wine and set aside to allow the saffron to "bloom" and infuse wine.
  • Heat olive oil to medium heat in a dutch oven or soup pot.
  • Add fennel, onion, celery and garlic and cook for ~5 minutes until vegetables are softened.
  • Add tomato paste and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes, bay, thyme, and broth and bring to a boil.
  • While soup is coming to a boil, prepare bread.
  • Grill bread on a hot grill pan or toast.
  • Rub grilled bread with cut garlic clove and drizzle with olive oil.
  • Once soup is boiling, reduce heat to medium low and add clams.
  • After 3 minutes, add halibut pieces and cook for another 3 minutes.
  • Add shrimp and cook for another 3 minutes.
  • Remove soup from heat and stir in half the parsley and tarragon.
  • Serve immediately garnished with remaining herbs and and with grilled bread on the side.

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