December 14 is Bouillabaisse Day, so it’s a perfect time to expand your horizons and try something new! Bouillabaisse is a traditional French seafood stew originating from the town of Marseille on the coast. The name derives itself from a Provençal Occitan word comprised of two parts: bolhir, meaning “to boil,” and abaissar, meaning “to simmer.”
Initially, the local fisherman made the stew using rockfish they could not sell to the stores. Saffron gives the broth its distinctive taste and color. Today, a bouillabaisse can include various kinds of fish, shellfish, and even octopus–you just need to use several! The keys to a good bouillabaisse are fresh seafood and patience, both of which are achievable with help from the staff at The Butcher Shop.
What kind of seafood is best for a bouillabaisse?
You can be creative here and choose seafood that fits your tastes and budget. Denser fish like sea bass, haddock, halibut, or cod will hold up better during the long soup-cooking process. You can use fillets or small whole fish. Most chefs add shellfish, too, such as mussels, crab, or clams. Squid or octopus are good choices if you want to make something a little more complex.
What is bouillabaisse served with?
A traditional bouillabaisse is served with bread or crostini topped with a rouille sauce. The rouille is a thick, creamy sauce made with some of the stock from the soup blended with garlic, bread, olive oil, and a few other ingredients.
Ingredients for a simple bouillabaisse:
The ingredient list is quite long because a traditional bouillabaisse includes a combination of many types of seafood. The staff at The Butcher Shop can help you pick selections that will work best for you.
- 1 pound each of three different types of TBS fish fillets, cut into 2-inch chunks
- 1 pound TBS mussels (in the shells)
- 1 pound squid or crab meat
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 cup sweet onions, thinly sliced.
- 2 leeks, thinly sliced.
- ¼ fennel bulb, thinly sliced (you can use 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds instead)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced.
- 3 large tomatoes, cut into eighths.
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- ½ teaspoon saffron threads
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 large, wide spiral strip of orange zest
- 2 cups of water
- 1 cup of clam juice
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
Ingredients for bread and rouille sauce:
- Sliced and toasted rustic bread.
- 1 tablespoon of the broth from the cooking bouillabaisse
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 small red hot pepper
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup of untoasted rustic bread, torn into pieces.
- Start with the bouillabaisse and cook the onions, leeks, and fennel. Add ¼ cup of olive oil to a large stock pot over medium heat. When the oil is heated, add the onions, leeks, and fennel. Saute for about 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are softened.
- Add the minced garlic, tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme, saffron, salt, and orange zest. Cook for about 10 minutes until the tomatoes are broken down.
- Bring two cups of water to a boil in a separate saucepan.
- Place the fish pieces on top of the vegetable mixture in the stock pot. Pour the boiling water on top of the fish. Add the clam juice and bring everything to a boil.
- Reduce the soup to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 5 minutes.
- Now it’s time to add the shellfish. Push aside the fish to add the mussels and the squid or crab into the liquid. Simmer for 10 minutes uncovered.
- Add the ground pepper and more salt to taste as needed.
- Remove the bay leaves, thyme sprigs, and orange zest and discard.
- Simmer with a lid on low until the rouille sauce is ready.
- Toast the bread slices if desired and prepare the rouille sauce. Put one tablespoon of the bouillabaisse broth into a blender. Add the peeled garlic, red hot pepper, salt, and untoasted bread. Blend until the consistency is very smooth. Keep the blender going and add drizzle in olive oil slowly. Stop blending when the oil is mixed.
- Serve immediately by placing a slice of toasted bread in each bowl. Add a dollop of rouille to the top of each piece and spread slightly. Surround the bread with the stew, including some of the mussels in shells in each serving.
Celebrate Bouillabaisse Day with fresh seafood from The Butcher Shop.
We receive ocean-fresh seafood shipments on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. When you bring home seafood from TBS, you can rest assured it will go from being caught to served on your plate within 24 hours. Along with seafood and meat, TBS is your source for locally grown produce, fresh bakery items, and other specialty grocery items. Stop by today and see what’s in store for your best meals!