Quick Bouillabaisse with Saffron Aioli

  • Active Time 25m
  • Total Time 1h 35m

Serves 10

Add a variety of fish and shellfish to this bouillabaisse, such as shrimp and mussels, for a more traditional stew.


  • 4 pounds cod or monkfish, on the bone if possible
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 20 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • Bouquet garni: with fine kitchen twine, tie together 2 sprigs parsley, 1 celery top with leaves, 2 bay leaves and 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup Pernod or other licorice-flavored liqueur
  • 28-ounce can peeled Italian plum tomatoes in juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Spanish paprika (pimenton) or 1 teaspoon Californian or Hungarian paprika
  • 3 quarts water
  • 4 fennel bupounds, trimmed (green tops chopped and reserved for serving), quartered, cored and cut into wedges about 1 inch in width
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
  • For the Garnish:
  • 1 cup Saffron Aioli (see recipe)
  • 10 (1/2-inch thick) slices country-style bread, brushed with olive oil and toasted for 15 minutes in a 350 degrees F oven, until golden

Companion recipe: Saffron Aioli


Cut the fish into approximately 2-inch pieces, reserving the bones for the stock. Set the pieces of fish aside, covered and refrigerated, until ready to serve. (If you can't find fish on the bone, ask the fishmonger for 8 ounces of assorted fish bones, preferably not salmon bones. If no other bones are available, use a small, whole fish, chopped, for the stock.)

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Wait 10 seconds, then add the fish bones, garlic cloves, fennel seeds, bouquet garni and salt. Reduce the heat to low and sweat the mixture without letting it brown, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste, Pernod, canned tomatoes with all the their juices, paprika and 3 quarts of water.

Bring the mixture to a boil, partially cover the pan and regulate the heat to maintain a slow simmer for 45 minutes. Retrieve and discard the fish bones and the bouquet garni, then use an immersion blender to puree the liquid. Don't worry if it is not perfectly smooth. (Or, pass the liquid through the coarse disk of a food mill and return to the pan.) Add the fennel wedges, cover the pan, and simmer gently for 20 minutes, until the fennel is tender. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and paprika as necessary. At this point, the dish may be set aside for several hours, or cooled to room temperature and refrigerated overnight, before finishing the dish.

Bring the broth back to a gentle simmer and add the fish pieces. Simmer the soup gently for 5 minutes, to cook the fish. Ladle into wide, warmed bowls, distributing the fish, fennel wedges and broth evenly.

TO SERVE: Place a nice dollop of saffron aioli in the center of each bowl and scatter a little orange zest and chopped fennel greens over the top. Serve at once, with a slice of toasted bread on the side.

Recipe created exclusively for Cooking.com by Brigit L. Binns.

Photography courtesy of Weldon Owen Publishing.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Publisher. All rights reserved.

RecID 6000

nutrition information per serving

442 calories; 22g total fat; 102mg cholesterol; 919mg sodium; 28g carbohydrates; 5g fiber; 33g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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