Marseille style fish soup

A friend and I had been talking about the glories of bouillabaisse for the past year and we finally decided to use New Year's Eve as an excuse to fish rather than continuing to cut bait, ad nauseum. The following recipes are a combination of several derived from old Gourmets, Julia Child, the Playboy Gourmet Cookbook, and "gee, that sounds good!let's add it."

The accompanying Rouille is a garlic-hot pepper mayonnaise condiment traditional to Marseille-style fish soup.


(Serves 4-8)





Procedure (rouille)

  1. In a food processor fitted with the cutting blade, puraee all ingredients (except the olive oil and hot pepper sauce) until finely minced.
  2. With the motor running, add the olive oil through the feed tube in as thin a continuous stream as possible. Stop occasionally to scrape down the sides.
  3. Add hot pepper sauce to taste. The rouille should be very spicy.

Procedure (court bouillion)

  1. Bring water to boil and add all ingredients.
  2. Return to boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Skim scum from top while simmering.
  3. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove all solids and strain through double layer of cheesecloth.

Procedure (bouillabaisse)

  1. Cook lobsters in boiling water for 15 minutes, until bright red.
  2. Remove all meat from tail and claws. Cut into chunks and set aside.
  3. Scrub mussels and clams well to remove sand. Debeard mussels by pulling black fibers from shell.
  4. Steam mussels and clams over 1 inch of water for about 10 minutes, until shells open.
  5. Discard any unopened mussels or clams. Remove one shell from each mussel and clam, leaving meat in other shell.
  6. Strain clam/mussel broth through double layer of cheese cloth and reserve 3 cups.
  7. Shell the shrimp.
  8. In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Sautae onion, leek, carrot, fennel, garlic, sage, saffron, and orange peel until onions are soft and golden.
  9. In a large pot, bring to a boil 8-10 cups of court bouillon, reserved clam/mussel broth, and 2 cups wine.
  10. Add sautaeed vegetables, bay leaf, parsley and wine and bring to simmer.
  11. Add salt and pepper to taste
  12. Cut fish into large chunks. Add fish and shrimp and simmer 8-10 minutes.
  13. Add lobster, mussels and clams and simmer 2 minutes.
  14. Serve in soup plates over garlic toast.


Rouille is traditionally made with a mortar and pestle but I prefer to use a food processor!it's just too much work otherwise. Pass the rouille as a condiment. Usually 1 Tbsp per serving is sufficient!this stuff is the essence of garlic and hot pepper.

If you can't get fish trimmings for the court bouillon, add bottled clam juice and shrimp and lobster shells.

To be truly authentic, our bouillabaisse should have included eel, but my friend was a bit squeamish about that so we left it out. Basically, any combination of shellfish and firm-fleshed fish can be used with the more variety the better. I dislike using crab since it flakes so easily and is lost in the broth. If you can't get live lobsters, substitute frozen lobster tails but be careful not to overcook.

Use saffron threads, rather than saffron powder which tends to be adulterated with safflower and not the same thing at all. Be conservative with the saffron!a little goes a long way and can give the dish a medicinal taste.

We preceded our dinner with herbed leek and proscuitto tartlets served with champagne. Dinner included bouillabaisse; a hearts-of-palm salad with pimiento and greek olives and vinagrette dressing; lots of crusty french bread to soak up the broth; a dry white wine (Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc '84); and my friend's mother's sponge cake with whipped cream icing, fresh raspberries and raspberry sauce, accompanied by Asti Spumante.


Difficulty: moderate to hard.
Time: 2 hours.
Precision: approximate measurement OK.


Pamela McGarvey 
UCLA Comprehensive Epilepsy Program, Los Angeles, California, USA 
Recipe last modified: 5 Jan 87

Original header

Path: decwrl!recipes
From: pam@cepu.uucp (Pamela McGarvey)
Subject: RECIPE: Bouillabaisse
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Date: 20 Mar 87 05:32:51 GMT
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Organization: UCLA Comprehensive Epilepsy Program, Los Angeles, Calif., USA
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