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Bouillabaisse (Mediterranean Fish Soup)

paflynn's picture
Like all traditional dishes, bouillabaisse, a fish soup commonly found in restaurants and homes along France's Mediterranean coast, can take many forms. Its origins are in the fishermen's stews that were typically cooked up on the beaches, after the day's catch was in and sold.
  Ground pepper 1⁄2 Teaspoon
  Dry white wine 2 Cup (32 tbs)
  Water 1 Cup (16 tbs)
  Potatoes 1 1⁄2 Pound, peeled
  Saffron threads 1⁄4 Teaspoon
  Fish fillets 2 Pound
  Boiling water 1 Cup (16 tbs) (for boiling)
  Whole fish 2 Pound
  Red snapper/Ocean perch or rockfish 1 , cleaned
  Mussels 1 Pound, scrubbed
  Crabs 1 Pound
  Minced flat leaf parsley 1 Tablespoon (fresh)
  Bread slice 8
  Dried red chilies 2
  Garlic 4 Clove (20 gm)
  Bread crumbs 1 Tablespoon, dried
  Egg yolks 2
  Salt 1⁄2 Teaspoon
  Extra virgin olive oil 1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs)
  Extra virgin olive oil 1⁄4 Cup (4 tbs)
  Yellow onion 1 , chopped
  Leeks 2 , rinsed
  Tomatoes 2 , chopped
  Garlic 2 Clove (10 gm), crushed
  Bay leaf 1 , dried
  Thyme 2
  Fennel stalk 6 Inch
  Orange zest 1 , dried

To make the rouille, in a mortar, combine the chilies and garlic and crush them together with a pestle to make a paste. Add the bread crumbs and mash again. Mix in the egg yolks and salt to make a smooth paste. Very slowly, drop by drop, whisk in the olive oil until the mixture thickens. Continue adding the oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly, until a mayonnaiselike mixture forms. (Alternatively, make the rouille in a blender.) Set aside.

To make the soup, in a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and leeks and sauté until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, fennel, orange zest, salt and pepper. Stir well and add the wine, water and potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the potatoes are nearly tender, about 25 minutes.

Bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Stir in the saffron. Lay the firm-fleshed fish on top of the soup, pour over just enough boiling water to cover, and boil for about 7 minutes to half-cook the fish. Add the tender-fleshed fish, the mussels (discard any that do not close to the touch) and the crabs, adding more boiling water as needed to cover, and boil just until the tender-fleshed fish separates easily with a fork and the mussels open, 3 to 4 minutes.

Using a spatula, transfer the fish and shellfish to a warmed platter, placing the tender-fleshed fish on one part, the firm-fleshed on another. Discard any mussels that failed to open. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to the same plate. Ladle a few Tbs. of broth over them and garnish with the parsley. Stir 2 to 3 Tbs. of broth into the rouille. Ladle the remaining broth into a serving bowl.

Place a slice of bread in the bottom of each soup bowl and ladle on some broth. Pass the fish, potatoes and rouille for spooning into the bowls. Serves 8.

Recipe Summary

Difficulty Level: 
Side Dish
Preparation Time: 
45 Minutes
Cook Time: 
40 Minutes
Ready In: 
85 Minutes
Bouillabaisse (Mediterranean Fish Soup)

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Nutrition Rank

Nutrition Facts

Serving size

Calories 994 Calories from Fat 266

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 33 g50.3%

Saturated Fat 3.3 g16.6%

Trans Fat 0 g

Cholesterol 284.4 mg94.8%

Sodium 957.4 mg39.9%

Total Carbohydrates 48 g15.8%

Dietary Fiber 5.2 g20.6%

Sugars 5.1 g

Protein 116 g231.9%

Vitamin A 63.7% Vitamin C 71.6%

Calcium 60.7% Iron 69.1%

*Based on a 2000 Calorie diet

Bouillabaisse (Mediterranean Fish Soup) Recipe, Bouillabaisse (Mediterranean Fish Soup)