This luxe seafood soup from star chef Daniel Boulud starts with a fantastically rich-flavored broth made with fish heads, bones, lots of aromatics and tomatoes. Saffron-laced potatoes, snapper and bass fillets, shrimp and mussels all go in at the end and the dish is served with the best rouille we've ever tasted. Slideshow:  More Seafood Recipes 

Daniel Boulud
July 2016

Gallery

© David Malosh

Recipe Summary

active:
1 hr 45 mins
total:
3 hrs
Yield:
6 to 8
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

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.

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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.

Instructions Checklist
Instructions Checklist
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.

Make Ahead

The rouille can be refrigerated for 2 days. The soup can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 3 months.

Suggested Pairing

Bandol white.