- 1 baking potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- Pinch of saffron threads
- Kosher salt
- Pinch of cayenne
- 6 superfresh garlic cloves
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 thyme sprigs
- 1 head of garlic, halved crosswise, or 6 large cloves, crushed
- Three 3-inch-long strips of orange zest
- Two 2-pound whole black sea bass, cleaned and filleted, heads and bones reserved
- One 4-pound red snapper, cleaned and filleted, head and bones reserved
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 yellow onions, chopped
- 3 celery ribs, chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 1 leek, white and light green parts only, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne or crushed red pepper, plus more for seasoning
- 1/4 cup pastis
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined, shells reserved
- 1 pound plum tomatoes, quartered
- 1 pound German Butterball or small Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered
- Kosher salt and white pepper
- 1 pound mussels, scrubbed and debearded
- Crusty baguette, for serving
How to make this recipe
- Make the garlicky rouille In a medium saucepan, combine the potato, saffron, a pinch of salt and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and cook until the saffron water is reduced by half and the potato is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Cool completely, then transfer the potato and saffron water to a blender. Add all of the remaining ingredients except the oil and pulse to combine. With the machine on, slowly drizzle in the oil until well blended. Season with salt. Transfer to a serving bowl; refrigerate.
- Make the herb-and-spice sachet Assemble all of the ingredients on a piece of cheesecloth, wrap into a bundle and tie with kitchen string.
- Make the bouillabaisse Rinse all of the fish heads and bones until the water runs clear. Cut the fillets into 2-inch pieces and transfer them to a bowl; cover and refrigerate.
- In a large enameled cast-iron casserole or pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onions, celery, fennel, leek, saffron and cayenne and cook over moderate heat until the vegetables soften, 8 minutes. Add the pastis and cook until evaporated. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until beginning to caramelize, about 5 minutes.
- Add the fish heads and bones, shrimp shells, herb-and-spice sachet and enough water to just cover, about 16 cups. Bring to a simmer and cook over moderately low heat for 20 minutes, skimming off the foam that rises to the surface. Stir in the tomatoes and cook gently for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in a large saucepan of salted boiling water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well.
- Pick out and discard the herb-and-spice sachet and any large fish bones. Working in batches, transfer the contents of the casserole to a blender and puree until smooth. Strain the soup through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean pot, pressing on the solids.
- Finish the bouillabaisse Bring the soup to a simmer. Add the potatoes. Season the fish with salt and pepper and add to the soup. Cook over low heat for 3 minutes. Add the shrimp and mussels, cover and cook until the mussels open and the fish and shrimp are cooked through, 2 minutes longer. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne.
- Stir 2 tablespoons of the hot soup into the rouille. Ladle the bouillabaisse into shallow bowls. Serve with the rouille and crusty bread.
The rouille can be refrigerated for 2 days. The soup can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 3 months.