Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse

By
From
How I cook
Serves
6
Photographer
Jason Lowe

There are many versions of this famous dish from the South of France, some with potatoes and/or wine; I prefer mine without either – the simplicity appeals to me. Along the Mediterranean, species such as rascasse, mullet, red gurnard and wrasse are used, but you can vary the fish according to availability.

Traditionally, bouillabaisse is eaten in two parts. First most of the broth is served as a soup, with rouille and toast on the side. This is followed by the fish and shellfish, which have been kept moist in some of the broth. Two courses with only one pan to wash – my dream Sunday lunch.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2kg mixed fish and shellfish, such as sea bass, red mullet, turbot, live langoustines and fresh clams, cleaned
125ml olive oil
2 large yellow onions, peeled and finely sliced
35 saffron strands
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
500g ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
1.25 litres water
4 bay leaves
peel of 1 orange
handful fennel fronds, ideally wild (optional)
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
see method for ingredients
1 pagnotta or baguette, sliced and toasted
olive oil, for brushing

Method

  1. Cut the fish into tranches, about 5cm wide, retaining the bones as these lend flavour. Split the langoustines in half lengthways.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large saucepan over a low heat. Add the onions and sweat gently for 5 minutes until tender but not brown. Stir in the saffron and garlic, then increase the heat to medium and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the tomatoes, water, bay leaves and orange peel to the pan and bring to the boil. Cook at a moderate boil for 5 minutes, then add the pieces of fish, lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Finally, add the langoustines, clams, fennel if using, and the rest of the olive oil. Cover and cook steadily for 4–5 minutes until the clams open and the langoustines turn pink. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve the broth in warm bowls with rouille and toasted baguette slices brushed with olive oil, followed by the fish and shellfish as a main course.

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