Bouillabaisse Recipe French Fish Soup _ Chef Jean-Pierre Well, hello there friends, today we’re making a Bouillabaisse recipe, an incredible fish soup, from Marseille, France. It is delicious! We’re going to make a to-die-for fish broth first, and then we’re going poach some delicious fish fillets. After which we’re going to serve it with some crusty crostini with a really traditional rue. Amazing!

As many of you may already know I grew up in the Aix-en-Provence of France, about 20 minutes north of Marseille the home of Bouillabaisse, the ultimate fish soup. But, I have lived in the United States now for over 50 years and I’ve learned to make an American-friendly Bouillabaisse recipe. You can’t just make it the way they eat it in Marseille.

The way Bouillabaisse is served in Marseille, they serve the whole fish complete with the head and the bones, and everybody has to dive in and dig them out. Today I am going to share with you how to make an amazing Bouillabaisse recipe where you don’t have to do any of that. We’re going to make a beautiful fish soup my friends.

Bouillabaisse Recipe - French Fish Stock _ Chef Jean-Pierre With fish soup the most important ingredients, next to the fish of course, are the vegetables you use. When I make Bouillabaisse, I use an extra big pot because I like to have it available when I get the urge. Bouillabaisse freezes beautifully. And with the fish stock we are making today, you can make all sorts of other sauces and soups. You can even make bisque. With this amazing fish stock, you can make all kinds of stuff.

Before making this Bouillabaisse recipe, or any fish recipe, what you need, which I highly recommend to my friends, is to have a great relationship with your fishmonger. That way you can be assured you always get some of the best and freshest fillets, fish bones, or shrimp and crab shells that you can use to make an incredible fish stock.

If you like this recipe you may also enjoy its Italian-American cousin Cioppino, but first…

Are you ready to wow your friends and family with an incredible Bouillabaisse recipe? Well grab your apron, fire up the stove, and let’s get cooking!

Serving Bouillabaisse French Fish Soup with Crostini

Easy Bouillabaisse Recipe for a Delicious Seafood Feast!

chef jean pierre 200x200 1Chef Jean-Pierre
Hello friends! Are you ready for a taste of France? Let me introduce you to Bouillabaisse, a traditional dish from my hometown. Now, I know some of you live in areas where some of the ingredients can be hard to come by, so I've put my own spin on the traditional Bouillabaisse recipe to make it just as tasty and way easier to make.
Trust me, you don't need to be a master chef to make this dish! And the best part? You can get creative with it! Don't have a specific ingredient? No problem, just swap it out or leave it out entirely. After all, cooking is all about having fun and experimenting. So why not give thisBouillabaisse recipe a try and let me know what you think in the comments below? Your taste buds won't be disappointed!
5 from 6 votes
Servings 8 Servings

Recipe Video

Recipe Ingredients

Prepare the Stock:

  • 2 tablespoons Garlic or Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 large Onion diced
  • 3 to 4 pounds Shrimp shells and Fish bones (very clean)
  • 1 large Leek diced
  • 6 sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 6 to 8 Garlic Cloves whole and peeled
  • 3 cups small Carrot diced
  • 3 cups small Celery diced
  • 1 head of Fennel diced small
  • 1 x 28 ounces can of Tomatoes chopped
  • 10 cups Water / Chicken or Vegetable Stock or whatever amount you need to cover all the ingredients by about 2 inches.

Prepare the Bouillabaisse:

  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 large Onion diced
  • 1 head of Fennel diced small
  • 1 cup Leeks cut into very small dice
  • 1 tablespoon Saffron threads (approximately)
  • 3 cups Chardonnay
  • 2 tablespoons Garlic chopped
  • 2 cups Tomatoes Concasse chopped, peeled, seeded and diced Tomatoes
  • 4 cups Bouillabaisse Stock (see recipe)
  • ½ ounce of Pernod or Ricard liquor (optional)
  • 8 to 10 Sea Scallops (depending on their size)
  • 1 pound Halibut (cut into 2 ounces pieces*)
  • 1 pound Grouper (cut into 2 ounces pieces*)
  • 1 pound Snapper ( cut into 2 ounces pieces*)
  • 1 pound 21 / 25 Shrimp (21-25 shrimp in each pound), peeled and de-veined**
  • 24 Fresh Mussels

Prepare the Rouille:

  • 1 large tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 1 teaspoon Saffron (if you do not have it add a teaspoon of turmeric)
  • 1 tablespoon Garlic chopped
  • 1 cup Garlic or Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 teaspoons Harissa or your favorite hot sauce
  • 1 Roasted Bell Pepper (optional)
  • 1 slice of Bread crust removed
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Recipe Instructions

Makes Approximately 2 Quarts

    Make the Stock:

    • In a stockpot, heat the olive oil and add the onion.  Sweat the onions for five minutes. 
    • Add the all the ingredients, cover with water and stock.
    • Bring to boil and reduce to medium low heat and let it cook for 45 minutes to one hour maximum.
    • Strain the stock and discard all the vegetables and fish bones.

    Make the Bouillabaisse:

    • In a Dutch oven or the pot you will use to cook the Bouillabaisse, heat the olive oil and when hot add the onion and sauté it until light golden brown.  Add the fennel, leeks, saffron and Chardonnay and bring to a boil.  Let reduce until only 3/4 cup of wine remains.  Add tomatoes, garlic, stock and salt and pepper to taste. And bring to boil.
    • Add scallops wait 2/3 minutes add, Halibut, grouper and add the remaining seafood, ** And Shrimp 😊 and cook for 10 minutes, or until all the seafood is cooked to your liking.  Adjust the seasoning with freshly cracked black pepper and salt if needed.
    • Divide the seafood equally into deep serving dishes (such as large soup plates).  Pour the stock over the seafood.  Decorate the plate with garlic croutons and aioli.
    • *Substitute with any firm fish like Mahi or Sea Bass
    • ** The Chef forgot to add the shrimp until the end.  Do not do like him and add them now 😊

    Make the Rouille:

    • In your food processor, add the mustard, egg yolks, saffron and garlic.  Process the ingredients and slowly add the olive oil until you have the consistency of mayonnaise.
    • Add the bell pepper, bread and salt and pepper to taste.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Bouillabaisse

    1) What is Bouillabaisse?

    Bouillabaisse is a traditional fish soup/stew originating from the port city of Marseille in France. It is typically made with a variety of fish, shellfish, vegetables, and herbs, and served with a crusty bread.

    2) What’s the difference between Bouillabaisse and Cioppino?

    Bouillabaisse and Cioppino are both traditional fish stews originating from different parts of the world. Bouillabaisse hails from the coastal town of Marseille in France, while cioppino is an Italian American dish originating from San Francisco in the United States.

    The main difference between the two dishes lies in their origins and ingredients. A Bouillabaisse recipe begins with fish, shellfish, vegetables, herbs, and spices, and is typically served with a side of crusty bread and rouille (a garlic mayonnaise). Cioppino, on the other hand, is made with a mix of seafood such as crab, shrimp, clams, and mussels, in a tomato-based broth with onions, garlic, and wine.

    3) Is a Bouillabaisse recipe difficult to make?

    Making a Bouillabaisse recipe can be a bit time-consuming to make, as it involves several steps like preparing the fish, making a broth, and cooking the vegetables. However, with a bit of practice and patience, it is definitely doable for home cooks at any skill level.

    4) What are some good sides to serve with Bouillabaisse?

    Bouillabaisse is typically served with crusty bread, either plain or rubbed with garlic and topped with rouille, a garlicky mayonnaise. A crisp green salad or roasted vegetables can also make a great accompaniment.

    5) What is the best wine to pair with Bouillabaisse?

    A dry white wine like a Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay, or even a Sancerre or a Chablis pairs well with Bouillabaisse, as it helps to balance the richness of the soup and complement the flavors of the fish and vegetables. Red wines in general are not recommended. Click here for a comprehensive list of suggested wines.

    6) Can a Bouillabaisse recipe be made in advance?

    Yes, Bouillabaisse can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. In fact, it can be even better the next day as the flavors have had time to develop. However, it is important to let it cool completely before refrigerating it to avoid bacteria growth.

    7) How long can Bouillabaisse be stored in the refrigerator?

    Bouillabaisse can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days in an airtight container. It is important to let it cool to room temperature before storing it to avoid bacteria growth. It is also best to reheat it gently over low heat to prevent overcooking the fish.

    8) Can Bouillabaisse be frozen for later consumption?

    Yes, Bouillabaisse can be frozen for later consumption. It is best to freeze it in portions and use it within 3 months for optimal flavor and texture. To freeze, let the soup cool to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container or freezer bag, removing as much air as possible.

    9) What is the best way to reheat Bouillabaisse?

    Yes, Bouillabaisse can be reheated on the stove or in the microwave. It is best to reheat it gently over low heat to prevent overcooking the fish. If using the microwave, be sure to stir it occasionally and cover it with a damp paper towel to prevent splatters.

    10) Can Bouillabaisse be made with frozen fish?

    While fresh fish is always preferred, you can use frozen fish or seafood if you don’t have access to fresh. It is best to thaw the fish in the refrigerator overnight before using, and to use it within 24 hours of thawing. Frozen fish can also be cooked directly in the soup, but it may take longer to cook through.

    11) Can Bouillabaisse be made with canned tomatoes?

    Yes, Bouillabaisse can be made with canned tomatoes. However, fresh tomatoes are preferred for their flavor and texture. If using canned tomatoes, choose ones that are of good quality and have no added salt or sugar.

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