Chyrel's Recipes From Friends

Bouillabaisse Recipe

According to tradition, there should be at least five different kinds of fish in a proper bouillabaisse. In Marseille, considered the mecca of bouillabaisse, they use at least seven, not counting the shellfish. The fish should be extremely fresh - caught and cooked the same day. If you cannot get extremely fresh fish, then the next best alternative is quick frozen - fish frozen the same day it was caught. Use as many different types of fish as you can, such as fillets of flounder,haddock, cod, perch, white fish, whiting, porgies, bluefish, bass - almost any combination. Count on at least three kinds to serve six.


At least 3 different kinds of fish
Olive oil
Oysters, clams, or mussels
Cooked shrimp, crab, or lobster meat, or rock lobster tails
Leeks (optional)
Shallots (optional)
Garlic (optional)
Fresh or canned tomato
Fresh or canned sweet red pepper or pimiento
Fennel or fennel seed or anisette or pernod
Bay leaf
Orange peel
Powdered saffron
Clam juice or fish broth
Lemon juice or white wine
Sliced French bread


Heat in a large saucepan 1/4 cup olive oil. When it is hot, add 1 cup of thinly sliced onions (about 2 good-sized onions) and 4 crushed shallots or the white part of 2 or 3 leeks, thinly sliced. Add also 2 cloves of crushed garlic - more or less or none to suit your taste; 1 sweet red pepper cut into bits, or 1 canned pimiento. Add 1 large tomato, cut into pieces or 1/2 cup canned tomatoes; 4 stalks of celery, thinly sliced, and a 2-inch slice of fennel or 1/2 teaspoon of fennel seed. If you have no fennel use 1 Tablespoon of not too sweet anisette or pernod, which is added at the last. Stir the vegetables into the oil with a wooden sppon until well coated. Then add another 1/4 cup of olive oil, 3 twigs of fresh or dried thyme, or about 3/4 teas poon of powdered thyme; 1 bay leaf; 2 or 3 whole cloves and the peel of about half an orange. Cook until the onion is soft and golden but not brown.
Thaw 3 pounds of quick-frozen fish fillets, or use fresh fillets. Cut into 2 inch pieces. Add the pieces of fish and 2 cups of water. Boil furiously uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Add 1 cup oysters, clams or mussels, though these may be omitted if desired, and 1 cup of shrimp, crabmeat or lobster tails, cut into pieces or left whole.
Mix 1/2 teaspoon powdered saffron; 2 teaspoons salt; 1/4 teaspoon pepper, with half a cup of the broth from the fish and return it to the pan. Then add 1 cup of clam juice or fish broth and the juice of 1 lemon, or a cup of white table wine. Bring to a boil again and cook about 5 minutes longer.
At serving time taste and correct the seasoning of the broth, adding a little more salt or pepper if need be, and maybe a touch of lemon juice. At this point, if you have not ad ded fennel, you can add a tablespoon of anisette or pernod.
Into each soup bowl place a thick slice of crusty French bread, plain or slighlty toasted. Sppon the bouillabaisse over the bread. If desired, serve with Sauce Rouille.
Directions for Sauce Rouille:
Put 1 Tbsp of hot fish stock or clam broth into the bottom of a blender. Add 2 cloves of peeled garlic and 1 tiny red hot pepper; 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup soft white bread pulled into bits. Blend until very smooth, almost like a marmalade. With the blender still running, add 1/2 cup of olive oil slowly and stop the blending as soon as the oil disappears.
At serving time pass Rouille in a little bowl along with the bouillabaisse. Each serving is about 1/2 a teaspoon that you stir into your soup. Use gingerly like Tabasco.

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