Bouillabaisse is a classic French stew that hails from the port city of Marseille. It is a vehicle for seafood first and foremost but it is also defined by its flavor-packed broth, enhanced with saffron, which gives the broth its signature orange hue.
Bouillabaisse is served with sliced bread slathered in rouille, a thick, emulsified sauce similar to aioli. Picture the best garlic bread you’ve never had and you’re pretty close.
Chef Julia Sullivan of Nashville’s Henrietta Red loves our Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven for this recipe, saying “you don't have to constantly stir it because it has a nice heavy bottom and a nice heavy lid. You add the shellfish [and then] you can kind of steam things”.
Think of this as a Choose Your Own Adventure, seafood edition. Chef Sullivan uses shrimp, scallops, clams, and mussels, but you could easily substitute diced fresh fish or even squid. Garnish the finished soup with some rouille topped sourdough, and you have the star of your next dinner party.
This recipe yields 4 quarts, so you should have more than enough to feed a crowd.
Chef Julia Sullivan shares her take on a French classic and shows us why the Dutch Oven is a secret weapon when it comes not only soup but shellfish too.
Heat your Dutch Oven over medium heat. When hot, cover the bottom with olive oil and allow the oil to heat up.
Add onion and garlic and sweat until fragrant, making sure they don’t pick up too much color, about 3-5 minutes. Then add celery, carrot, fennel, and saffron and continue sweating until fragrant but not soft, 2-3 minutes.
Add in potatoes, stock, and crushed tomatoes, stirring to combine.
Turn the heat down to a simmer and reduce until thickened, stirring occasionally. This should take about 20-30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
While the soup is simmering, preheat your oven to 400F. Brush your bread with olive oil and toast in the oven on a Sheet Pan until golden brown, about 4-6 minutes.
Next, prepare rouille by combining garlic, roasted red pepper, egg yolk, lemon juice, saffron, and salt in a food processor or blender.
Blend until smooth, then add the olive oil in a slow stream until emulsified. Season to taste. The rouille will make about 2 cups. Refrigerate any leftovers for up to 4 days.
When the soup has thickened to stew consistency, add the shrimp, followed by the clams and mussels.
Cook until the clams and mussels are opened, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the scallops and turn off the heat. Stir in Pernod and adjust seasoning to taste.
Ladle bouillabaisse into Entrée Bowls and garnish with basil and fennel fronds. Spread the Rouille on your toasted bread and serve with the bouillabaisse.