The Lady's Bouillabaisse

Total Time:
40 min
15 min
25 min

8 servings

  • 1 pound mussels
  • 2 pounds firm fresh fish fillets, such as grouper or striped bass
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 3/4 cups chopped onions
  • 5 Roma tomatoes, peeled and sliced, or 1 cup canned Italian tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • Pinch saffron
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter plus more, for the bread and plating
  • 2 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 (8-ounce) bottle clam juice
  • 4 crab halves, cut in 1/2
  • 1 pound unpeeled shrimp
  • 1 loaf French bread
  • Wash and scrub the mussels in cold water.

  • Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a large heavy pot. Add the mussels and cover the pot.* Steam for 6 to 8 minutes or until the mussels open. Discard any mussels that didn't open. Remove from the heat and set aside.

  • Cut the fish into 1-inch thick slices.

  • Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the garlic, onions, tomatoes, fennel, saffron, salt, and pepper. Add the mussel broth to the pot and 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the boiling water and clam juice. Bring to a rolling boil, add the crabs and fish, and continue to boil for 6 to 8 minutes. Add the mussels along with the shrimp, and boil for an additional 5 minutes.

  • Slice the French bread, butter it, and toast lightly. Serve the bouillabaisse in large individual bowls lined with toasted French bread; pile in the seafood and ladle the broth over it. Top each bowl with 1 tablespoon of butter. Pass the remaining bread at the table.

  • *Cook's Note: If you like a spicier soup you may add a couple of whole hot peppers to the pot at the start of cooking.

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