Fish soup in a white bowl with parsley garnish

Bouillabaisse, A Delicious French Fish Stew

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Want to learn how to cook bouillabaisse, the most delicious French fish stew?

This recipe is so good and I know you can make it with a few Chef Gerrie tips and tricks. It makes a perfect Valentine’s Dinner menu to enjoy with your honey.

Boulliabaisse is simply a fish or seafood soup of brothy perfection.

Rich in saffron, fennel, leeks, shallots, tomatoes, and garlic, Bouillabaisse is a noble dish of sorts. According to the French, bouillabaisse cannot be prepared beyond the environs of Marseilles. What masquerades elsewhere is just fish soup! Gheez, the arrogance of the French…

This bouillabaisse is an artistic presentation of buttery Chilean sea bass, lobster, shrimp, mussels, and clams which delights my improvisation of this intoxicating soup!

The subtle addition of a white burgundy and celebrated spirit of Pernod takes this seafood soup to a whelm of nirvana…I guarantee!

It doesn’t stop there, the Rouille is the the French Secret Ingredient…garnish with mayonnaise made of olive oil, garlic, saffron, and cayenne pepper on grilled slices of bread.

My bouillabaisse is the perfect Valentines Day Dinner, rich in vitamins and nutrients that will keep the body humming with energy. It suffices the taste buds with intoxicating flavors and warms the spirit within.

Be sure to have crusty artisan bread on hand. And for dessert, try my Chocolate Red Velvet Soufflés with White Chocolate and Mascarpone sauce…Its a winner!

Serves 8

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour



  • 1/6 Otr Covered Braiser, Ruffoni *
  • Stock Pot, for fish and shellfish stock
  • Chef Knife and pairing knife
  • Scrubby for mussels and clams
  • Kitchen Shears for lobster tails
  • Hand held strainer
  • Large heat proof rubber spatular
  • Ladle
  • Soup Bowls

The Broth

  • 1/2 C Clarified butter or Ghee *
  • 2 Carrots, diced
  • 2 Leeks, diced
  • 6 Shallots, diced
  • 2 Celery ribs, diced
  • 2 Fennel bulb, 1 diced and 1 sliced thin, reserve the fonds
  • 1 ½ t Red Chili Pepper Flakes
  • 10 Gloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Whole Orange Peel, no pith reserve fruit
  • Bouquet Garni: Generous bunch of flat-leaf parsley, 2 bay leaves, 4 sprigs of thyme, fennel fonds, tied in a bundle with string.
  • 6-8 pinches of Saffron Threads
  • 1 ½ C White Burgundy, Chardonnay
  • 1 C Pernod, anise flavored liqueur *
  • 28 oz San Marzano tomatoes, drained and diced *
  • 2 t Sea salt
  • 1-2 t Crushed red pepper
  • 1 t Sriracha
  • 1/2 t Fresh Black Pepper, ground
  • 3 qts. White Fish Stock, can be a combination of shellfish, fish, and clam juice
  • 1.5 oz Glace de Fruits de Mer Gold *
  • 1/2 C Italian parsley, chopped

The Seafood

  • 2 lb Chilean Sea Bass, skinless
  • 16 lg Shrimp, 15-20 ct., peeled leaving tail on and devined.
  • 1 lb Mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 8-9 Small Clams
  • 4 6 oz. Lobster tails, each cut into halved portions, length wise

The Rouille (Garnish)*

  • 2 X-Lg Egg Yolks
  • ½ t Sea Salt
  • 6 Garlic Cloves, chopped
  • ¼ t Saffron
  • ¼ t Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Lemon, zest and juice reserved
  • 1 t Pernod
  • 1 Small Potato, peeled and cooked
  • 2-3 T Olive Oil
  • Put all ingredients, except olive oil in blender and whip at low speed until smooth. Slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream, forming a mayonnaise-like emulsion. Serve in a small bowl or garnish each bowl with a dollop of rouille.

Chef Gerrie's Notes

* Ghee is India’s answer to clarified butter, but…better! You can buy it at Costco or almost any well-stocked grocery in the Indian or international section. You do not have to refrigerate after opening but it needs to be put in a cool dark place. Like clarified butter, this has a nuttier flavor than just melted butter because it is cooked longer.
Pernod is an anise-flavored liqueur and a must-have for the bouillabaisse. Its flavor profile is of star anise (licorice) and herbs is exactly what defines this “fish soup” from others. This is the secret ingredient that makes the bouillabaisse so French! The licorice like flavor and aroma marries the fennel and vegetables well with the seafood.
San Marzano Tomatoes  are a variety of plum tomato that grows in the rich volcanic soil of the Sarno River valley, near Mount Vesuvius, resulting in a sweet flesh with low acidity. Its thick skin makes it easy to peel off. Plus, it’s meatier than Romas and other plums, and has fewer seeds: all good things for making tomato sauce. They are the best canned tomatoes. San Marzano tomatoes come either whole-peeled or halved-peeled. If they hare chopped or diced, they are not San Marzano tomatoes.
*Glace de Fruits de Mer Gold  is made by “More Than Gourmet”. These glacés are what we call in the industry…flavor boosters. When added to soups, stews, or sauces they boost the flavor profiles to another dimension. They are a must to have in your pantry! This is what separates the real chefs from the “wanna be’s”
Rouille is a mayo like aioli, (the magical condiment) only fired up with cayenne pepper and laced with fragrant saffron. It’s thickened with a baked mashed potato.


  • Heat the braisier first then add olive oil and sauté the carrots, fennel, leek, celery, pepper, shallots, chilé flakes, salt, and orange peel for about 5 minutes until tender. Follow up with garlic.
  • Add Saffron and sauté until incorporated and softened.
  • Add white wine then reduce by 1/3. Follow with Pernod. and reduce by 1/3. Add tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes prior to adding the fish stock. Drop in the bouquet garni. Bring to a lazy boil (strong simmer) then reduce to a low simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Begin adding the seafood: Start first with the clams (cook for 1-2 minutes) and then the Chilean Sea Bass white fish (cook for another minute). Then add the shrimp, mussels, and lobster.
  • Add the tomatoes and simmer for about 8 minutes. Just prior to serving add the fresh herbs.
  • Place in a large soup tureen or in individual dishes and serve with crusty bread and top with a dollop of rouille.
Did you try this recipe?Mention @chef_gerrie or tag ##ChefGerrie!
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Bouillabaisse with Rouille
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