A saucepan and serving bowl filled with bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse

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Prep: 1 hr Cook: 1 hr

A challenge

Serves 6

Make this classic French fish soup at a dinner party for friends and family. It's a challenge, but will make an impressive starter or main course

Nutrition and extra info

  • Healthy

Nutrition: Per serving

  • kcal608
  • fat33g
  • saturates5g
  • carbs26g
  • sugars11g
  • fibre7g
  • protein38g
  • salt0.72g
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Ingredients

  • leek, green top left whole, white finely sliced
    Leeks

    Leek

    lee-k

    Like garlic and onion, leeks are a member of the allium family, but have their own distinct…

  • small bunch fresh thyme

    Thyme

    This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

  • 3 bay leaves
  • bunch parsley, stalks whole, leaves roughly chopped
    Parsley

    Parsley

    par-slee

    One of the most ubiquitous herbs in British cookery, parsley is also popular in European and…

  • 2 strips of orange peel
  • 1 mild red chilli
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 2 onions, chopped
    Onion

    Onion

    un-yun

    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 1 leek
    Leeks

    Leek

    lee-k

    Like garlic and onion, leeks are a member of the allium family, but have their own distinct…

  • 1 fennel, fronds picked and reserved, fennel chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 star anise
    Star anise

    Star anise

    star an-eese

    Star anise is one of the central spices in Chinese cooking. It has a strong anise flavour, with…

  • 2 tbsp Pernod, optional, if you have it
  • 4 large, ripe tomatoes, chopped
    Tomato

    Tomato

    toe-mart-oh

    A member of the nightshade family (along with aubergines, peppers and chillies), tomatoes are in…

  • large pinch (⅓ tsp) saffron strands
    Saffron

    Saffron

    sah-fron

    The stigma of a type of crocus, saffron threads have a pungent and distinctive aroma and flavour…

  • 1½ l fish stock (see our recipe)
  • 100g potato, one peeled piece
    Potato

    Potato

    po-tate-oh

    The world's favourite root vegetable, the potato comes in innumerable varieties. A member of…

  • 1kg of filleted mixed Mediterranean fish, each fillet cut into large chunks. (We used a mix of red and grey mullet, monkfish, John Dory and gurnard)
  • 300g mussels, optional
    Mussels

    Mussels

    mus-sels

    Once regarded as the poor relation of the shellfish family because of their small size and…

For the rouille

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 small chunk of red chilli (optional)
  • small pinch saffron
    Saffron

    Saffron

    sah-fron

    The stigma of a type of crocus, saffron threads have a pungent and distinctive aroma and flavour…

  • 1 piece of potato, cooked in the broth, (see above)
    Potato

    Potato

    po-tate-oh

    The world's favourite root vegetable, the potato comes in innumerable varieties. A member of…

  • 1 egg yolk
    Eggs

    Egg

    egg

    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • 100ml olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

For the croutons

  • ½ baguette, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

Method

  1. To make the croutons heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Lay the slices of bread on a flat baking tray in a single layer, drizzle with olive oil and bake for 15 mins until golden and crisp. Set aside – can be made a day ahead and kept in an airtight container.

  2. Use a layer of the green part of the leek to wrap around and make a herb bundle with the thyme, bay, parsley stalks, orange peel and chilli. Tie everything together with kitchen string and set aside.

  3. Heat the oil in a very large casserole dish or stock pot and throw in the onion, sliced leek and fennel and cook for about 10 mins until softened. Stir through the garlic and cook for 2 mins more, then add the herb bundle, tomato purée, star anise, Pernod if using, chopped tomatoes and saffron. Simmer and stir for a minute or two then pour over the fish stock. Season with salt and pepper, bring to a simmer, then add the piece of potato. Bubble everything gently for 30 mins until you have a thin tomatoey soup. When that piece of potato is on the brink of collapse, fish it out and set aside to make the rouille.

  4. While the broth is simmering make the rouille by crushing the garlic, chilli and saffron with a pinch of salt in a mortar with a pestle. Mash in the cooked potato to make a sticky paste then whisk in the egg yolk and, very gradually, the olive oil until you make a mayonnaise-like sauce. Stir in the lemon juice and set aside.

  5. Once the chunky tomato broth has cooked you have two options: for a rustic bouillabaisse, simply poach your fish in it along with the mussels, if you're using (just until they open) and serve. For a refined version, remove the herb bundle and star anise. Using a handheld or table-top blender, blitz the soup until smooth. Pass the soup through a sieve into a large, clean pan and bring to a gentle simmer. Starting with the densest fish, add the chunks to the broth and cook for 1 min before adding the next type. With the fish we used, the order was: monkfish, John Dory, grey mullet, snapper. When all the fish is in, scatter over the mussels, if using, and simmer everything for about 5 mins until just cooked and the mussels have opened.

  6. Use a slotted spoon to carefully scoop the fish and mussels out onto a warmed serving platter, moisten with just a little broth and scatter over the chopped parsley. Bring everything to the table. Some people eat it as two courses, serving the broth with croutons and rouille first, then the fish spooned into the same bowl. Others simply serve it as a fish stew. Whichever way you choose the rouille is there to be stirred into the broth to thicken and give it a kick.

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