Just so we’re clear, yes the photo above is from a trip to France, where we had traditional Bouillabaisse at a restaurant on the Quay de Cassis, the photo above is not the American style Bouillabaisse below, it’s just supposed to be a nice photo and hopefully give you some idea of how its done in France.
American style Bouillabaisse is more what we find in restaurants here in the States, it’s a simplified version, with mostly the same basic ingredients, although the fish is of the more common variety, rather than traditional Mediterranean species, we’re probably getting cold water fish. Personally while the tastes between the two are completely on opposite ends of the spectrum, the base flavors are there and thus make a good substitute.
This particular version is a basic bouillabaisse and of course you can add to it whatever you may like for your personal tastes, I’ll through out some more suggestions later in the Fab Recipes section.
Large Tablespoon Garlic minced
One Medium Onion finely chopped
Half a Fennel bulb roughly sliced
Two Or Three Medium Tomatoes chopped
A few threads of Saffron
Herbs Bouquet Garni
Since we’re doing an American version, here are some fish suggestions – cod, shrimp cleaned and deveined, clams and mussels
In a stew or large stock pot, coat the bottom generously in olive oil, heat at medium, add the garlic, onions and fennel, to caramelize, toss in the tomatoes, stir for maybe two more minutes or so. Add in a little boiling water to start creating the “stew”, add the bouquet garni and saffron.
Add in the shrimp, fish chunks, clams and mussels. Add in more boiling water until its just below the top of all your ingredients. I like to add in the potatoes at this point and simmer them all together, but that’s chefs choice.
Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
This is a serious crowd pleaser at any event or dinner party because it looks really fancy and tastes delicious, but in fact is so relatively easy to make. I have seen it done at weddings, as both an appetizer and as a main course. It works well since the stew can remain hot and really won’t overcook, as opposed to the rubbery chicken we’re all familiar with. Try it at home and see if you like it.