When I was studying in France, this was the Holy Grail of recipes. Mastering the perfect bouil labaisse meant reaching a new echelon of French cooking. After a few tries, this was my favorite version of the dish.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: Serves 4
- Category: Soups
- garlic clove, very finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Pinch of saffron
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 fennel bulb, thinly sliced, a handful of fronds reserved
- 3/4 cup white wine
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 bunch basil, plus more for garnish
- 3 cups seafood stock
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 snapper fillets, cut into large chunks
- 2 tilapia fillets, cut into large chunks
- 1/2 pound jumbo shrimp
- 2 pounds mussels, cleaned and debearded
- 4 (3/4-inch-thick) slices crusty bread
- 1 lemon, quartered, for serving
- Fresh parsley, for garnish
- For the aioli: On a cutting board, mash the garlic and salt together. Keep mashing until a ﬁne paste forms. In a small bowl, combine the garlic paste, saffron, mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- For the bouillabaisse: In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sliced fennel bulb and cook, stirring, until fragrant. Add the wine and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes to reduce the Add the tomatoes, basil, fennel fronds, and seafood stock. Simmer, stirring occasionally and breaking up the tomatoes, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the liquid has reduced further.
- Turn off the heat. Puree the soup using an immersion blender until smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Reheat the liquid in the same pot and add the ﬁsh, largest pieces ﬁrst. Add the shrimp and mussels. Very gently, stir to bring some liquid to the top. Cover and cook gently over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, or until all the mussels have opened up and the shrimp turns pink. (Discard any mussels that don’t open. )
- Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Brush both sides of the bread with olive oil and toast each side until lightly golden brown. Generously smear the warm bread with the aioli.
- Ladle the soup into bowls. Coarsely chop a few basil leaves and garnish the soup. Add a slice of saffron aioli toast to each bowl and serve with lemon wedges and fresh parsley.
Keywords: bouillabaisse, soup