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Ted Allen's Lobster Bouillabaisse

A classic bouillabaisse often contains six or more different kinds of fish. "But for my money, you really just need lobster, a firm fish and either mussels or clams," says Ted Allen. Even in a simplified version of the Provencal seafood stew, Allen still thinks it's important to make a broth; here, he uses the lobster shells. "For a stronger seafood flavor, add a bottle of clam juice to the finished stock," he says.

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  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6

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  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, thickly sliced
  • 4 carrots, thickly sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves—4 smashed, 2 minced
  • Two 2-pound cooked lobsters—shells reserved, meat cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 5 coriander seeds
  • 1/8 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 fennel bulb—halved, cored and thinly sliced
  • Pinch of saffron threads, crumbled
  • Two 2-inch strips of orange zest
  • One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds mussels, scrubbed
  • 1 pound skinless halibut fillet, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley


  1. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, celery, half of the carrots, the smashed garlic cloves and the reserved lobster shells. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the vegetables are softened slightly, about 7 minutes. Add the wine and cook until nearly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns, coriander seeds, fennel seeds and the water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the liquid is reduced to about 6 cups, about 45 minutes. Strain the broth into a heatproof bowl and discard the solids. Rinse out the pot.
  2. Return the broth to the pot. Add the potatoes, fennel, saffron, orange zest, tomatoes, minced garlic and the remaining carrots; bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper and simmer over moderate heat until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. Add the mussels to the pot, cover and cook until they open, about 3 minutes. Gently stir in the halibut and lobster meat and cook until the halibut is white throughout, about 2 minutes. Serve in deep bowls, sprinkled with the parsley.

Serve With

Mayonnaise seasoned with minced garlic, saffron and cayenne pepper on toasted baguette slices.

Suggested Pairing

To match the bouillabaisse, an iconic Provençal dish, turn to the iconic Provençal wine—rosé.

Contributed By Photo © Lucy Schaeffer Published May 2010

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