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.
- 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.