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Traditional Home, February/March 2017, page 40.

This classic French fish stew has its origins in the seaport of Marseille. The use of fennel, thyme, bay, saffron, and citrus in the broth are traditional elements to the flavorful broth. The rouille, a garlic-tomato-breadcrumb based sauce, is stirred in for additional flavor. Julia Child liked to spread the rouille on crusty bread and serve it alongside for soaking up the broth. Here, Mottahedeh’s gold-trimmed “Lion” tureen elegantly serves the robust dish.

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  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped leek
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped carrot
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 (28-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes
  • 3 cups seafood stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 orange, zested (1 tablespoon)
  • 1 lemon, zested (2 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 pinches saffron
  • 1 pound halibut, skinned and cut in 2-inch cubes
  • 1 pound clams, cleaned and bearded
  • 1 pound mussels, cleaned and bearded
  • 1 cup Garlicky Rouille (optional) (recipe follows)
  • 2 to 3 sprigs Italian parsley (stems and leaves)


Adapted from


Step 1

In an 8-quart Dutch oven heat olive oil and butter over high heat until butter melts. Add onion, celery, leek, and carrot. Season with salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are glossy and aromatic.

Reduce heat to low. Add wine to vegetables. Simmer 5 minutes or until wine is reduced by half. In bowl, use your hands to crush undrained San Marzano tomatoes. Reserve 2 tablespoons of tomatoes for Garlicky Rouille. Add remaining tomatoes, seafood stock, water, red wine vinegar, orange and lemon zest, fennel seed, thyme, bay leaves, and saffron to pot. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes.*

Add fish, clams, and mussels to Dutch oven. Simmer 8 minutes or until clams open. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve soup with Garlicky Rouille, if desired, and chopped parsley for garnish. Makes 8 servings.

Garlicky Rouille: In small skillet heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat. Add three cloves sliced garlic; cook until lightly brown. Remove from heat. In blender or food processor combine garlic and oil, 1 cup drained bottled roasted red peppers, 1/4 cup Italian-style breadcrumbs, and reserved 2 tablespoons crushed San Marzano tomatoes. Cover and blend or process to a smooth paste. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Transfer to serving bowl, cover, and chill until serving time.

*Tip: You can prepare the soup to this point, and chill up to 24 hours. When ready to serve, return to a simmer and continue with step 3.

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