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+ servings

Provençal Fish Stew aka Bouillabaisse

Course Main Dish
Cuisine European, French
Keyword bouillabaisse, fish, recipe, seafood
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 8 portions


for rouille sauce

  • 120 ml olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp saffron
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Spanish sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 each egg yolk
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

for baguette toasts

  • 2 each French baguettes thinly sliced and toasted in the oven

for seafood

  • 8 each lobster tail
  • 16 each prawns whole, large
  • 1 each monk fish whole
  • 1 each sole/dover fish whole
  • 1 each sea bass whole
  • 2 lb mussels or little neck clams, or both
  • 16 each scallops

for vegetables

  • 2 each leeks or white onions
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup celery root or stalks
  • 1 cup carrots
  • 1 each fennel bulb and tops, large
  • 1 cup tomatoes
  • 8 each potatoes young, red or yellow

for spices, herbs, and aromatics

  • 1 tsp saffron
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tbsp Pastis or Pernod, or brandy
  • 5 sprigs thyme
  • 5 sprigs parsley
  • 1 each orange peeled zest and juice
  • 1 tsp parsley chopped for garnish
  • q tsp fennel greens chopped for garnish


to make rouille

  • For small amounts, use mortar and pestle, for large — small food processor or hand-held blender. Make garlic paste with kosher salt. Add peppers, saffron, add egg yolk and process into a thick paste.
  • Drizzle in the olive oil a little at a time and process until the rouille is smooth. Transfer to a serving container and refrigerate.
    Rouille Sauce with Baguette Toasts

to make stock

  • Wash, peel if needed, and dice vegetables — the white part of leeks, celery root or stalks, carrots, fennel bulb. Cut green tops of leeks and fennel into 3-4" long pieces and tie them with thyme and parsley making a few bunches. Peel garlic cloves. Wash and chop tomatoes or use canned diced tomatoes with juice. Thinly peel the zest of an orange, squeeze and reserve its juice. Measure Pernod/Pastis.
  • Prep the seafood. Refrigerate fish fillets, crustation tails, and mollusks for later. Break seafood heads, carcasses, shells, etc. to smaller pieces and have them ready.
    Seafood Assortment for the Fish Stew
  • Soak saffron in white wine.
  • Heat 1/3" deep olive oil in a large pot. Add crustation heads and shells and cook until bright orange for 5 minutes. Add root vegetables and saute for another 5 minutes until sweet and aromatic. Add tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes. Flambe with Pernod/Pastis. Add fish heads and bones and fill the pot with wine and cold water to cover solids plus 2". Add spices, herbs and green tops bunches, and orange zest and juice. Bring to boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 45 minutes.
    Fish Stew aka "Bouillabaisse"
  • Remove spices, green bunches, and orange zest and strain the stock. You can blend it first to extract more flavor and to make it thicker. You can store the stock refrigerated or frozen until ready to make the fish stew.

to make and serve fish stew

  • Wash and peel potatoes. You have an option to cook and serve them in a separate dish or with the seafood. If serving separately, slice them into 1/4" rounds. Otherwise, dice them. In a pot, cover potatoes with seafood stock, bring to simmer and cook for about 15 minutes until done if serving separately or for 10 minutes if plating with seafood.
    *As an option, reserve some diced vegetables (leeks, fennel, carrots, and celery) for this step. They will add more texture to the stew.
  • If serving lobster tails, clams, or mussels, cook them until done and reserve.
    Making Bouillabaisse: Cooking Lobster Tails Separately
  • Add bite-size fish pieces in order of how long they will take to cook. Monkfish and sea bass will take a few minutes longer than the rest of the fish, so start with them. When ready to serve, taste and adjust seasoning. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley and fennel fronds or other herbs of your choice.
  • Traditionally, French restaurants serve bouillabaisse not plated letting the guests assemble their dishes right before eating — large dishes with cooked seafood, fish stock, rouille, and baguette toasts. Each eater places some seafood and potatoes in a bowl, adds some stock, spreads some rouille on a couple of toasts and places them on top of the stock to soak flavorful essence of bouillabaisse. Other restaurants prefer serving it as a dinner that consists of 3-4 plated dishes featuring different kinds of seafood and making sure all components are distributed evenly. Either way, this fish stew is fantastic! Bon appetite!


Морепродукты. "Буябес" и "Чиоппино" (school notes in Russian)
Seafood - Stews (school photoalbum)
Французские Буйабесы в иллюстрированных постингах Ники Белоцерковской:
Буйабес! Руй и всё-таки выбрала "Бэкон"!
опять Буйабес, теперь школьный