Bouillabaisse Recipe

This classic Bouillabaisse recipe is packed with flavor! The combination of herb, spice, orange peel, and fennel is divine. The saffron, gives the soup its deep golden color. You have to give it a try, it’s delicious!

bouillabaisse recipe

Why this Bouillabaisse Recipe is so Good

  • A popular French classic.
  • It creates a rich and delicious fish stew.
  • 3 types of seafood create a range of wonderful flavors.
  • A must for seafood lovers.

Ingredients for this Bouillabaisse Recipe

  • Olive oil
  • Leek, onion, tomatoes, orange peel
  • Garlic, fennel, saffron, fresh herbs
  • Fish trimmings
  • Assorted fish
  • Dry white wine
  • Sea salt

bouillabaisse recipe final shot

How to Cook this Bouillabaisse Recipe – Step by Step 

You start with leek, onion and garlic – and saute in olive oil.

leek, onion, garlic

Just a few minutes over medium heat is all you need.

onions in pot

The next step is to add in the herbs. Fennel is essential, but you can also add in other fresh herbs like parsley, oregano and thyme. I only use the green fronds of the fennel (save the white bulb to use in another recipe, like a salad)

bouillabaisse-recipe herbsbouillabaisse-recipe herbs

Use a vegetable peeler to peel strips off the orange.

 orange peel

This is saffron that I’ve gently crushed with my fingers – I want to get the saffron threads into smaller pieces, almost in a powder form.

saffron in hand for bouillabaisse recipe

Chop up 3 tomatoes.

chopped tomatoes

Throw everything into the same pot that has the leek/onion/garlic, water, wine along with the fish trimmings. I’ll spare you the photo of the fish trimmings.

After simmering for 30 minutes, strain the bouillabaisse into another pot.

pouring base

Add your seafood

seafood for bouillabaisse recipe

Ladle into bowls, garnish with fennel and serve.

bouillabaisse in bowl

What Kind Of Seafood Should I Use For Bouillabaisse?

Now let’s talk about seafood in this Bouillabaisse recipe. You can use whatever you want, though traditional Bouillabaisse recipes will call for 3 different kinds of fish along with shellfish. I used Amberjack and Grouper (from our fishing trip), salmon, shrimp, scallops, clams and mussels. Okay, I went a little overboard 🙂  Bring the strained Bouillabaisse soup back to a simmer and cook the seafood for just a few minutes.

Can I Freeze Bouillabaisse?

Cooking one big batch if this Bouillabaisse recipe and freezing some for another time lets you cook once while feasting at least twice!

Unless you want to end up with frosty bouillabaisse, you need to allow it to completely cool before freezing it. Once the fish is completely cooked, take the bouillabaisse off the heat. Remove any skin or bones that might still be in the mixture. Allow the mixture to cool completely before dividing it into freezer-safe containers. Label the containers with the date and seal them shut. Bouillabaisse can be frozen for as long as six months.

I’m part of the McCormick Gourmet team, bringing you in-depth information about everyday spices. From McCormick Gourmet’s Enspicelopedia:

What Is Saffron?

Observe the stigma, the tiny strands at the flower’s center, of any crocus in your garden, and you’ll begin to understand why saffron is so expensive. It takes 220,000 dried stigmas from a specific variety of crocus, Crocus sativus, to make one pound of saffron. The flowers appear over a two-week period only, usually in October. Saffron is available as strands and also ground.

The deep orange red color and unique flavor of the famous Spanish rice dish paella, the Indian dessert kheer and French seafood soup bouillabaisse are the work of tiny saffron threads steeped in liquid during cooking. Used both for color and flavor, saffron is a prized spice in Mediterranean, North African and Asian cuisines and in bread and pastries around the world.

Originating in the Middle East, this spice is planted, harvested, dried and packaged by hand. Today, Iran is the largest producer, while India and Spain are much smaller growers, Spain holds the honor of producing the highest quality saffron.

Cultivated in Southern Europe since the 3rd century or before, saffron has found use in medicine, religious offerings, perfume, make-up, potpourri and, of course, cooking. Its vivid orange red color gives it great use as a fabric dye, which makes it humorous to imagine what Greeks and Romans must have looked like after using it perfume luxurious baths.

Top Tips for this Bouillabaisse Recipe

  • Using a variety of fish (mostly finfish) and fewer shellfish is truer to the original spirit of bouillabaisse.
  • Using a blender instead of the more traditional food mill helps to break down the solids enough so they can pass through a strainer (though you can use a food mill if you have a good one).
  • You can gently crush the saffron in your fingers, to create a powder that will absorb into the Bouillabaisse recipe.
  • I only use the green fronds of the fennel (save the white bulb to use in another recipe, like a salad)
  • Serve with crusty bread!

Check Out These Other Delicious Seafood Dishes

Have you tried this Bouillabaisse recipe? Feel free to leave a star rating and I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

5 from 1 vote
bouillabaisse-recipe
Bouillabaisse Recipe
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 

This classic Bouillabaisse recipe is packed with flavor! The combination of herb, spice, orange peel, and fennel is divine. The saffron, gives the soup its deep golden color. You have to give it a try, it's delicious!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: French
Keyword: bouillabaisee, fish soup, fish stew, seafood stew
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 368 kcal
Author: Jaden Hair
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 leek white part only, chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • peel of 1 orange orange part only (use vegetable peeler)
  • 3 to matoes chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped fennel fronds
  • fresh herbs in any combination: thyme, parsley, oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads crushed
  • 3-4 pounds of fish trimmings heads, bones, tail, shrimp shells
  • 10 cups water
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 3 pounds of assorted fish and shellfish clams and mussels should be scrubbed clean
Instructions
  1. In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil on medium heat. When hot, add in the leek, onion and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes until softened but not brown.
  2. Add in the orange peel, tomatoes, fennel, fresh herbs, saffron, fish trimmings, water, wine, salt turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Then turn the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain the soup into another large pot.
  3. Bring the strained soup to a boil over medium high heat. Taste and adjust with additional salt if needed. The soup should be slightly salty (remember we still have unseasoned seafood to add into the soup). Now we'll cook the seafood, adding in the items that require the most cooking time first. If you have whole lobster tails or large crab claws, add them in first and give them a 2-minute head start. Clams next, then the mussels and extra-large shrimp, lastly the fish, scallops and any smaller shrimp. You want to be careful not to overcook the seafood, so 4-5 minutes max then turn off the heat.
  4. Ladle bouillabaisse into each bowl with the seafood and garnish with fresh fennel fronds.
Recipe Notes

Using a variety of fish (mostly finfish) and fewer shellfish is truer to the original spirit of bouillabaisse.

Using a blender instead of the more traditional food mill helps to break down the solids enough so they can pass through a strainer (though you can use a food mill if you have a good one).

You can gently crush the saffron in your fingers, to create a powder that will absorb into the Bouillabaisse recipe.

I only use the green fronds of the fennel (save the white bulb to use in another recipe, like a salad)

Serve with crusty bread!

Nutrition Facts
Bouillabaisse Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 368 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 151mg50%
Sodium 1340mg58%
Potassium 997mg28%
Carbohydrates 8g3%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 51g102%
Vitamin A 782IU16%
Vitamin C 15mg18%
Calcium 79mg8%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.