Pop open a bottle of French wine and devour the flavors of Provence with this classic fish stew, Bouillabaisse!
Have you had Bouillabaisse before? If you have, I’m sure you fell in love with it as much as I did. If you haven’t had it before, here’s why it’s so special.
What Is Bouillabaisse?
It’s a French seafood stew from the Provençal region. In Provence they use certain delicious seasonings that are highlighted in the soup and make it really tasty. These include saffron and orange. See how the white fish has a yellow color? That’s from the saffron. Nice, right?
The fish is cooked in the broth. Traditionally the fish is removed from the broth and is served separately. I keep them all in the pot together. It’s just easier.
There’s one more thing about Bouillabaisse that makes it special. Actually more than special. This makes it incredible. No, beyond incredible. Insane. Insanely incredible.
It’s a sauce that you serve with the soup. It’s called rouille. You smear it on bread and then put that bread on the soup. Or, if you’re like me, you just spoon the sauce right into the soup. It’s that good.
You want it everywhere. Need it on everything.
What’s so good about rouille? It’s basically mayonnaise made with olive oil with lots of garlic and some cayenne. Some people put saffron. Sometimes you see pimentos.
It’s really all about the garlic though. Lots of garlic.
The way it’s usually made is in a blender the way you would make homemade mayonnaise, by drizzling oil into the other ingredients until it emulsifies and thickens.
But as you might guess, because this Bouillabaisse is a Soupin15 recipe, I took a shortcut here. I puréed pimentos, garlic, and some basil in a blender. Then I just added store-bought mayonnaise. It is seriously good. And don’t worry, this recipe makes more than you need for serving with the soup. You can use any extras tossed with pasta or as a spread on a sandwich.
(I’ve been known to just eat it with a spoon. Shh. Don’t tell anyone).
Using Aromatics In Soup
My Souper Tip for this Bouillabaisse, the thing that makes it so delicious so quickly, is to use unusual aromatics. When most North Americans make soup, we tend to start with onion, celery, and carrots. Maybe some bell pepper. But there are other vegetables that make a great aromatic base for a soup. Today’s recipe uses fennel and leeks. The fennel has a mild licorice flavor and the leeks offer the dish a mild onion flavor. It turns the soup into something new and interesting.
That is the last Souper Tip you’ll be getting from me because today’s recipe is the last Soupin15 recipe. If you’ve been following along, I’ve been bringing you a 15-minute soup every week for the past year. That’s 52 quick soups. To see them all along with all the Souper Tips that go with them, head over here.Print
This recipe makes extra Rouille, the garlicky mayonnaise sauce that is traditionally served with Bouillabaisse. The reason there’s extra is because you’re definitely going to want to slather extra pieces of bread in it. And maybe even drizzle some straight into your soup.
- 2 cups water
- 1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (8 oz.) jar clam juice
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 small fennel bulb (with fronds for garnish)
- 1 leek
- 6 cloves garlic
- Saffron (you’ll need about 2 big pinches)
- Orange (for zesting)
- 1 (4 oz.) jar pimientos
- 1 tsp. dry basil leaves
- 2–3 drops tabasco
- Black pepper
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 haddock loins
- 12 mussels
- Half of a baguette
- Measure the water into a large microwave-safe bowl. Add the diced tomatoes and clam juice. Microwave for 6 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil over medium heat. Core and chop the fennel bulb (save some of the fronds from the tops to use as garnish). Add the chopped fennel bulb to the oil. Stir and cover.
- Trim the leek, split it in half lengthwise and then split each half in half. Chop it and put it all into a colander. Rinse well under cold water. Shake the colander to remove excess water and then add the leek to the fennel. Stir and cover. Reduce heat to medium-low.
- Peel and mince the garlic. Add half of it to the fennel and leek and set the other half aside. Add the hot liquid from the microwave and increase heat to high. Add two big pinches of saffron. Zest about 1 teaspoon of orange zest into the pot. Add 1 teaspoon of salt. Cover.
- When it comes to a boil, add the whole haddock loins and the mussels.
- As you wait for the soup to boil and then as the fish cooks, make your rouille sauce: Put the remaining half of the garlic in the food processor. Drain the jar of pimientos and add them to the garlic along with the basil, tabasco, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Puree to chop everything finely. Add ¼–½ cup of the mayonnaise and puree until smooth. Transfer sauce to a medium bowl. Add the remaining mayonnaise and stir until combined.
- Slice the baguette.
- Once the mussels are opened and the fish is cooked through, gently cut each piece of fish into two pieces.
- Serve the fish, mussels, and broth in bowls topped with a slice of bread drizzled with rouille. Garnish with fennel fronds if desired.