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“Bouillabaisse, this golden soup, this incomparable golden soup which embodies and concentrates all the aromas of our shores and which permeates, like an ecstasy, the stomachs of astonished gastronomes. Bouillabaisse is one of those classic dishes whose glory has encircled the world, and the miracle consists of this: there are as many bouillabaisses as there are good chefs or cordon bleus. Each brings to his own version his special touch.” ~Curnosky (1872-1956)

A gorgeous, fish soup in rich, saffron broth. For this recipe use the best quality, freshest fish you can find.

Serves 6

For croutons:
12 to 16 (1/2-inch-thick) baguette slices
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, halved

For soup:
1 ( 1 and 1/2 -lb) live lobster

1 large can whole tomatoes, crushed

1 large onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 lb potatoes

1/3 cup finely chopped fennel fronds

1  bay leaf

1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads

1 1/2 tablespoons coarse sea salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper

8cups fish stock + 1 cup sauvignon blanc

3 pounds white fish fillets (such as monkfish, turbot, red snapper, striped bass, porgy, grouper or cod…a combination of fish is fine), cut into 2-inch pieces

1/2 pound cockles or small hard-shelled clams, scrubbed

1/2 pound cultivated mussels, scrubbed and any beards removed

1/2 pound large shrimp in shells

For Rouille:

3 Tablespoons water

3/4 c. baguette crumbs

3 fresh garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Place baguette crumbs in a bowl and pour water over. Combine minced garlic with sea salt and cayenne. Add breadcrumbs to garlic mixture. Add oil. Mix well.


Make croutons:
Place oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 250°F.

Arrange bread slices in 1 layer in a shallow baking pan and brush both sides with oil. Bake until crisp, about 30 minutes. Rub 1 side of each toast with a cut side of garlic.

Make soup: Plunge lobster headfirst into a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling water, then cook, covered, 2 minutes from time lobster enters water. Transfer lobster with tongs to a colander and allow to stand until cool enough to handle. Discard hot water in pot. Put lobster in a shallow baking pan. Twist off claws and knuckles from body, then crack claws with a mallet or rolling pin and separate claws from knuckles. Halve body and tail lengthwise through shell with kitchen shears, then cut crosswise through shell into 2-inch pieces. Reserve the juices that accumulate in baking pan.

Cook tomatoes, onion, and garlic in oil in cleaned 6- to 8-quart pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Meanwhile, peel potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Stir potatoes into tomatoes with fennel fronds, bay leaf, saffron, sea salt, and pepper. Add stock, wine and bring to boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, covered, until potatoes are almost tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add bigger pieces of fish and cockles to soup and simmer, covered, 2 minutes. Stir in mussels, shrimp, lobster, including juices, and remaining fish and simmer, covered, until they are just cooked through and mussels open wide, about 5 minutes.

Stir 3 tablespoons broth from soup into rouille until blended. Place a tablespoon of rouille on top of each bowl of bouillabaisse before serving.

Arrange 2 croutons in each of 6 deep soup bowls. Carefully transfer fish and shellfish from soup to croutons with a slotted spoon, then ladle some broth with vegetables over seafood.



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