Classic French Bouillabaisse

A French bouillabaisse is a type of fish soup that originated from the French port city of Marseille. Authentic recipes will use a bony type of rockfish to cook this soup, out of three different types in this soup. Other common types of fish will include bream, monkfish, mullet and hake. The soup also includes shellfish and other seafood, depending on local availability. What the word ‘bouillabaisse’ suggests, is that the broth is cooked first, and then the other ingredients one by one (and not all together) which results in a thickly flavoured broth rich in the taste of the ocean and its stock.

Apparently, different port cities will make their bouillabaisse with different types of fish depending on what the harvests bring. But typically, the fishermen will pick out the bonier ones to cook this dish, and bring the rest to the market to sell them off – which makes lots of sense because you can sell them at a higher price and use the money to buy better ingredients for yourself right. But since I’m neither a fisherman nor a housewife who needs to be attuned to market conditions (yet), I am using the ingredients available off the supermarket shelves and fish + seafood that we love – i.e. salmon, clams, mussels and prawns. Once you cook the stock well and sift the blended flavours through, you will be able to get this bright golden stock (all thanks to saffron) to serve the seafood in, which will definitely impress any guest you host.


  • Olive oil: 1/2 cup
  • Yellow onion: 1, finely chopped
  • Leek: 1, finely chopped
  • Fennel: 2, finely chopped
  • Salt: 1/2 tsp + a pinch
  • Garlic: 4, finely chopped
  • Roma tomatoes: 2 bunches, halved
  • Dry white wine: 1 cup
  • Water: 6 cups
  • Chicken stock cube: 1
  • Orange peel: 1 orange, torn
  • White peppercorn: 8
  • Bay leaf: 4
  • Thyme: 4 stalks
  • Saffron: 2 tsp
  • Ground paprika: 1 tbsp
  • Clam: 200g
  • Mussel: 200g
  • Shrimp: 200g, peeled
  • Salmon: 200g, cubed
  • Cod: 200g, cubed
  • Brioche: 4 slices, toasted


  1. Heat olive oil in pot. Add yellow onions, leek, fennel & salt. Cook till tender, not brown.
  2. Add garlic. Saute till fragrant.
  3. Add Roma tomatoes & white wine. Simmer 5min.
  4. Add water and chicken stock cube. Simmer 8min.
  5. Add in orange peel, white peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme, saffron & paprika. Simmer 5min.
  6. Remove from heat and pour into blender. Blend till smooth.
  7. Sift through to obtain stock. Dispose of the rest. Return to stove to simmer.
  8. Add clams and cook 2min till opened up.
  9. Add mussels and cook 2min till opened up.
  10. Add shrimps and cook 2min. Turn heat off.
  11. Add in salmon, cod & a pinch of salt. Stir gently to cook.
  12. Scoop seafood into a bowl. Ladle stock into bowl.
  13. Serve hot with toasted brioche.

6 persons

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