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Simple Fish Bouillabaisse


Simple Fish Bouillabaisse

Simple Bouillabaisse

Weldon Owen
This is a very simple recipe for enjoying a wonderful warm and hearty stew created long ago in the port city of Marseille, France. Delicious and flaky white fish (such as cod or monkfish) is simmered with a rich fish broth, garlic and fennel, tomatoes and white wine. Serve with crostini or another crusty bread.

Reprinted with permission from Two in the Kitchen by Jordan Mackay and Christie Dufault (Weldon Owen, 2012). [Compare Prices]

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Yield: Serves 4 to 6


  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp fennel seeds
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1⁄4 cup (2 oz/60 g) tomato paste
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1⁄3 cup (3 fl oz/80 ml) dry white wine
  • 1 large fennel bulb
  • 1 can (15 oz/470 g)crushed tomatoes,with juice
  • 5 cups (40 fl oz/1.25 l) fish or vegetable broth
  • 2 lb (1 kg) cod or monkfish fillets, cut into 2-inch (5-cm) chunks
  • Shredded zest of 1 orange
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh chervil (optional)
  • Crostini


In a large Dutch oven over low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic, fennel seeds, and bay leaves and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is fragrant and tender, about 10 minutes. Do not let the garlic brown. Stir in the tomato paste and 1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Pour in the wine and stir to combine.

Cut off the stems and feathery fronds of the fennel bulb and remove any bruised or discolored outer layers. Coarsely chop the feathery tops to yield 2 tablespoons and set aside. Cut the bulb lengthwise into wedges and trim away the core, leaving a little core intact to hold each wedge together. Add the fennel wedges, tomatoes with their juice, and broth to the Dutch oven, cover, and cook at a gentle simmer for 1 hour. Add the fish, re-cover, and cook for 10–15 minutes more. The fish should be firm but tender.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fish and fennel wedges to a plate. Purée the soup with an immersion blender. (Alternatively, for a chunkier soup, transfer half of the mixture to a blender, process until smooth, then return to the Dutch oven and stir to combine.) Ladle the tomato broth into shallow bowls and divide the fish and fennel wedges evenly among the bowls. Garnish each serving with a little orange zest, the reserved chopped fennel tops, and the chervil, if using. Season with pepper and serve with the crostini.

Drink Note: Matching bouillabaisse with wine can be perplexing. The presence of fish points toward white wine, but the added weight of tomato broth suggests red. Our solution? Meet the choices halfway with a dry rosé, preferably one from Provence, where this soup originates.

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