My Secret Bouillabaisse Recipe

Patrick Smyth’s Thick Bouillabaisse Recipe

(French Provençal seafood stew)

Bouillabaisse is one of the great dishes of French Provençal cuisine. This recipe is simple and the key here is using top-notch ingredients, easily found in Vancouver. It is thicker than most classic recipes, but tastes awesome!

6 servings

Ingredients

Broth

  • Olive oil – 1/4 cup
  • White Onion, chopped – 1
  • Celery, chopped – 2 stalks
  • Garlic, minced – 4 cloves
  • Seafood bouillon cubes x 4 (optional)
  • Field Tomatoes, coarsely chopped – 1 pound
  • Fennel bulb – 1 chopped bulb
  • Orange peel (no white pith) – 1 piece, about 2 or 3 inches long chopped finely
  • Parsley – 6 sprigs
  • Fresh thyme – 2 sprigs
  • Salt – 2 teaspoons
  • Pepper – 1 teaspoon
  • Water – 2 quarts
  • White wine – 1 cup
  • Pernod – ¼ cup

Rouille

  • Red bell pepper, roasted, peeled and seeded – 1
  • White Potato, cooked and peeled – 1 large
  • Garlic, crushed – 4 cloves
  • Serrano chile pepper, minced – ½ (less if you don’t like spicy)
  • Fresh basil – 2 tablespoons
  • Salt and pepper – to taste
  • Olive oil – 1/4 cup
  • Lemon juice – 1 teaspoon

To Finish

  • Fish and seafood (white fish (halibut), prawns, octopus, scallops, clams, mussels, crab — 2 to 3 pounds (NEVER use an oily fish like salmon) – 5 to 6 pounds NB – mixing it up is best
  • French bread or similar bake and serve bread sliced and toasted – 3 pieces per person

Method

  1. For the Broth: Heat the olive oil in a large pot over a medium flame. Add the onions, celery and garlic and sauté slowly until the onions are wilted and translucent. Stir in all the remaining broth ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.
  2. Adjust its seasoning with salt and pepper. (The recipe can be prepared up to this point and the broth kept in the fridge until needed.)
  3. For the Rouille: Place the roasted pepper, potato, garlic, chile pepper, basil, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor with a little of the broth from above. With the blender or processor running, gradually pour in the olive oil. Thin out the sauce a little with more of the broth if needed. The rouille should be thick but spreadable. Adjust seasoning and place in a small bowl. (best served warm)
  4. To Finish: Bring the broth to a simmer again over medium heat. Add the fish and seafood in batches, starting with the firmest fish first and ending with the most delicate seafood. Simmer until all the fish and seafood is cooked through, about 5 minutes. DO NOT overcook!!!
  5. To serve, Place a piece of each type of fish and seafood in each bowl and spoon the broth over all. Smear the rouille on bread and eat on the side as an accompaniment.

And there you have it – my favourite Bouillabaisse recipe!