This bouillabaisse recipe is an heirloom recipe dating back 150 years to my ancestors in the south of France. This is the original Marseille bouillabaisse, a simple seafood stew fishermen made with their unsalable fish. Many additions have been made to other versions over the years, as cultures intermeshed and exotic ingredients became widely available. This bouillabaisse, on the other hand, is delicious in its simplicity.
Cook's note: Classic choices for Marseille seafood stew are conger, scorpion fish, sea bass, whiting, monkfish, octopus, crab, spiny lobster, and angler fish, among many other seafood varieties.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yield: 10 servings
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
- 4 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 large bouquet garni
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 large strip orange zest (optional, not in original recipe)
- 1 teaspoon saffron threads (optional, not in original recipe)
- 1 1/2 pound potatoes, cubed
- 12 pounds assorted fresh fish, cleaned and prepared
- Salt, to taste
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- Baguette, sliced and toasted
- Sauce rouille or aioli, for garnish
How to make bouillabaisse:
In a large stockpot set over medium-low heat, cook the onions in 1/4 cup of the olive oil until they turn translucent and tender. Add the chopped tomatoes, bouquet garni, garlic, orange zest, saffron, and potatoes to the pot. Generously season the vegetables with salt and pepper.
Layer the prepared seafood over the vegetables. Drizzle the seafood with the remaining olive oil and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Pour just enough hot water over the vegetables and seafood to cover all the ingredients. Bring the stew to a full boil for 15 minutes.
This traditional bouillabaisse recipe makes 10 servings.