The French seafood stew is infamously labor-intensive—but it doesn't have to be. 

By Caitlin Petreycik
March 27, 2019

The thing about bouillabaisse—a traditional French seafood stew, originating from the port city of Marseille—is it takes time. A lot of time. But that doesn't have to be the case, according to Chef Ludo Lefebvre, who has a devised a recipe for a quick, delicious version of the dish that home cooks can master in an afternoon. 

In this week's episode of Ludo à la Maison, the chef shares his bouillabaisse tips. Check them out here, and watch the full clip, above, to see how it all comes together. 

Tip #1: Don't Worry About Those Shells

Chef Ludo isn't precious about perfectly shelling all of his shrimp before he adds them to the fish stock base. Everything is going to get thrown in the blender and strained, anyway. 

Tip #2: Citrus Is Your Friend

To add a little acidity to his fish stock, Lefebvre tosses some pieces of orange and lemon rind into the pot. No need to get out the microplane—a few generous curls will work just fine. 

Tip #3: Start With the Scallops 

When it's time to poach your seafood, it's always smart to add the biggest pieces to the pot of fish stock first. In Chef Ludo's case, that would be the scallops. 

Tip #4: Be Very, Very Gentle 

During the poaching process, Lefebvre keeps his stock at a light simmer. It's OK if yours is "a little bit bubbly," but don't let things escalate to full-on boiling. 

Tip #5: Have Fun 

While Chef Ludo uses shrimp, scallops, and red snapper in his bouillabaisse, he reminds us that, "you can add different seafood, be creative, have fun." 

Tip #6: But Stay on Top of Things

You can't just leave bouillabaisse to simmer while you go do other things. Since the seafood cooks at different times, you'll need to keep watch and remove things from the pot once they're done. In the clip, Chef Ludo transfers his shrimp to a bowl once he sees that they've cooked through, then adds them back to the pot before the soup is ready to serve. 

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