La Bouillabaisse

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def: BOUILLABAISSE – a rich, spicy stew or soup made with various kinds of fish, originally from Provence.


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 brown onion, chopped
2 leeks, white portion only, chopped and rinsed
2 tomatoes, peeling and coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 fresh bay leaf
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 fennel stalk, approx 15cm
1 fresh orange zest strip, approx 3x5cm
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 cups dry white wine
1 cup water
5 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm thick slices
1/4 tsp saffron threads
2kg firm fish fillets (eg monkfish, halibut, cod) cut into 4cm chunks
Boiling water as needed
2kg tender fish fillets (eg red snapper, ocean perch, rockfish) cut into 4cm chunks
500g mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
500g small crabs
1 tbs minced fresh flat leaf parsley
8 slices coarse country bread, toasted and rubbed with garlic

La Bouillabaisse

Recipe also available on RecipeYum.


To make the soup, warm olive oil in heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and leeks and sauté for 2-3 minutes until translucent. Add tomatoes, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, fennel, orange zest, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add wine, water and potatoes. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender (approx 25min).

Once the potatoes are tender, bring the mixture back to the boil and add the saffron. Lay firm-flesh fish on top and pour over just enough boiling water to cover. Boil for 7 minutes until fish half cooked. Add tender-flesh fish, mussels and crabs. Discard any mussels that do not close when touched. Add more boiling water as needed to cover and boil for 3-4 minutes. Tender fish should separate easily with a fork and mussels open.

Using a spatula, transfer fish and shellfish to a warmed platter, placing tender fish to one side, firm fish to the other. Discard any mussels that have not opened. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to the same plate. Ladle a few tablespoons of broth over the seafood and sprinkle with parsley.

Place bread slice in the bottom of each serving bowl, top with seafood and potatoes and remaining broth.

Bon appétit!

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Jean-Luc Tan
Jean-Luc, founder of VIVE Cooking School, managed to quit coffee in Oct 2019. He likes to think he is a healthy eater, but truth be told: he can't resist Maccas Apple Pie and anything that is deep fried!
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