Provencal fish soup.

Know the bouillabaisse recipe from Marseille!

Today we will cook a traditional bouillabaisse soup from Marseille, which we never had a chance to try in Marseille. This fish soup is special because it is prepared from several types of fish and seafood.

Marseille fish soup appeared in the south of France in the region of Marseille thanks to local fishermen. They prepared the soup from fish remains that they could not sell. Today it is served in restaurants of Marseille, and it is not cheap (about 25-30 euros per dish), and for a reason – expensive types of fish and seafood are used in it, for example, lobsters etc. 

A traditional recipe should include at least 6 types of sea fish and seafood: monkfish, red mullet, hake, mussels, squid, etc. According to one version, the name of the soup comes from the words “boullir” (boil), and “baisse”, (“waste”) – fish. Traditionally, bouillabaisse is served with toasted bread and rouille sauce, which we will also prepare for a deeper perception of this provencal gastronomic experience.

What we need:

For the bouillon:

– Fish heads, tails and spines

– 1 Leek (white part)

– 1.2 liters of water

For the soup:

– 1 liter of bouillon

– About 2 kg of different fish (I used monkfish and sea bass)

– 300 g of raw shrimps

– 400 g of mussels

– 80 g of fennel bulb

– 1 red pepper

– 1 onion

– 3 tomatoes without skin

– 2 garlic cloves

– 1 branch of celery

– 4-5 of saffron strands

– 1 bay leaf

– 2-3 fresh thyme sprigs

– Parsley

– Olive oil

For the rouille sauce:

– 1 big potato

– 1 red pepper

– 2 yolks

– 2-3 saffron strands

– a pinch of salt

– 150 ml vegetable oil

If you decided to make the rouille sauce, then let’s start from preparing the ingredients for the sauce.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Cut in the middle of the potato, without cutting it completely, place the potato completely in foil. Clean the pepper from seeds, cut it in half and place both the potato and the pepper in a baking dish. Place the dish in the middle of the oven for one hour. The pepper needs to get out in 30 minutes! When one hour has passed, leave the potato in a warm oven while you are cooking the soup.

Cut the leek into rings, put about 3 tablespoons of olive oil into a pan and fry leek for about 5 minutes.

Separate the heads, spines and tails from fish you have chosen.

Add water into the pan with leek and put selected parts of fish. Let it boil on low heat for 25 minutes.

While the broth is boiling, prepare the rest of the ingredients. Cut the rest of fish into pieces. Traditionally, large pieces are placed in the soup. Peel the shrimps.

Cut fennel, celery, peppers and tomatoes into small cubes. If you want to add onion, chop it finely as well. Finely chop the garlic.

When the fish broth is ready, strain it through a colander into a separate container. Add olive oil into the same pan, fry onion, garlic, fennel, celery and pepper for about 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes and fry the mix on low heat for another 5 minutes.

Add broth, bay leaf, parsley, thyme, 4-5 saffron strands and leave it to boil for another 20 minutes. You can add some salt at this stage. Sea fish and seafood contain a lot of salt, so be careful with it.

After 20 minutes, take out the bay leaf and grind the mix with a blender.

Place the fish pieces in the boiling broth, depending on the time a fish type you chose needs to be cooked. In general, no more than 10 minutes.

5 minutes before finishing, add peeled mussels.

How to clean mussels.

Pull out algae with a sudden movement to not to damage the shape of the mussel. With a knife under cold water, clean most of the marine plaque. Don’t worry if there is something left.

Add shrimps 2 minutes before finishing.

While the soup is brewing, let’s make the sauce.

Sauce preparation.

Remove skin from the baked potato and the pepper. Add the potato, pepper, garlic, saffron, 2 yolks, salt and olive oil in a container and grind everything with a blender.

Serve bouillabaisse with toasted bread with sauce.

Bon appétit!