Savory Bouillabaisse - The Essence of French Fish Soup

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Easy Bouillabaisse Recipe for a French Fish Soup Adventure

Bouillabaisse, the renowned French fish soup, captures the essence of coastal cuisine and embodies the vibrant flavors of the Mediterranean.

Originating from the picturesque region of Provence, specifically Marseille, this iconic dish has gained international recognition as a symbol of French gastronomy.

The history of bouillabaisse traces back to the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, where fishermen utilized a combination of locally caught fish and humble ingredients to create a nourishing and hearty soup.

Over time, the recipe evolved, and bouillabaisse became a staple dish for fishermen returning from their maritime expeditions along the Mediterranean coast.

The traditional preparation of bouillabaisse involves a rich broth infused with aromatic herbs, such as thyme, bay leaves, and fennel.

The soup's flavor profile is elevated with the addition of saffron, a prized spice that imparts a golden hue and a subtle earthy taste.

While the exact fish used in bouillabaisse can vary depending on availability and regional preferences, common varieties include red snapper, sea bass, monkfish, and shellfish like mussels and shrimp.

What sets bouillabaisse apart is the unique cooking method. The soup is traditionally prepared in two stages.

First, the fish is gently simmered in the broth until cooked, allowing the flavors to meld together.

Then, the fish is carefully removed and served separately from the strained broth, ensuring a clear and refined texture.

The broth is served alongside rouille, a flavorful garlic and saffron-infused mayonnaise, and toasted slices of crusty bread, known as "croûtes," to soak up the delicious flavors.


  • 2 pounds assorted firm-fleshed fish fillets (such as red snapper, sea bass, or monkfish), cut into chunks
  • 1 pound shellfish (such as mussels or shrimp), cleaned and debearded
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 2 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups fish stock or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Rouille and crusty bread for serving


  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, leeks, and fennel. Sauté for 5-7 minutes until the vegetables soften.
  2. Add the minced garlic and sauté for another minute until fragrant.
  3. Stir in the diced tomatoes (with their juices), white wine, fish stock or vegetable broth, saffron threads, bay leaves, and fresh thyme. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it cook for about 15-20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
  4. While the broth simmers, season the fish fillets and shellfish with salt and pepper.
  5. Gently add the fish chunks to the pot and simmer for 5 minutes. Then, add the shellfish and continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes or until the mussels open and the fish is cooked through.
  6. Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if needed.
  7. Remove the pot from heat and discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs.
  8. Ladle the bouillabaisse into bowls, making sure to distribute the fish and shellfish evenly.
  9. Serve the bouillabaisse hot with rouille (garlic and saffron mayonnaise) and crusty bread on the side.

Enjoy the rich and flavorful Bouillabaisse, and savor the taste of authentic French cuisine!

Enjoy this easy video tutorial about Fish Soup Recipe

Source: Chef Jean-Pierre

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