Bouillabaisse recipe

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Bouillabaisse recipe


Serves 3


  • 500g red fish or red mullet (skin on), cut into large chunks
  • 125g frozen shelled tiger prawns
  • 30 mussels in their shell
  • 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, cored, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • Peeled zest of 1 orange
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
  • 6 sprigs of thyme, finely chopped
  • 1/2 star anise
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 100ml white wine
  • 400ml fish stock
  • 400g tinned tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • Salt
  • Flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped


To serve

  • Bread or croutons
  • Finely grated Parmesan


You will need 1 large saucepan, 1 medium saucepan with a lid and a fine sieve.


Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Total time: 1 hour

Bouillabaisse recipe

I first came across Bouillabaisse (pronounced boo-ya-base) in Santiago de Compostela in Spain 25 years ago and I remember thinking that it was the best thing that I had ever eaten. And I mean ever. It literally bowled me over. Was it the fishiness of the fish stock, prawns and mussel juices mixed with a rich tomato sauce? Or the silkiness of the fish as it was just poached? Or the abundance of fish, shellfish, tomatoes and Parmesan all in one bowl? These are all my favourite things after all. I don’t know. But I knew then that it was up there with the best. And so for you, I wanted to recreate an effortless and equally tasty version. And here she is… essentially it’s just a rustic fish soup so don’t be scared off by the name. It’s perfect for a weekend lunch or dinner and you’ll be so proud of yourself once you’ve made it… I promise.


First make the sauce. Heat the large saucepan over a medium heat and add a tablespoon of rapeseed oil.

Add the onion, carrot, celery and red pepper and sautΓ© for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and orange peel and sautΓ© for a further 2 minutes.

Add the bay leaves, chopped rosemary and thyme, star anise, ground fennel seeds and paprika and stir for a minute.

Turn up the heat and add the wine. Bring it to the boil and let it reduce for 3 minutes.

Add the fish stock, tinned tomatoes, tomato paste and a pinch of Maldon sea salt. Bring to the boil and turn down to a gentle simmer. Cook for 25 minutes.

Once the sauce is cooked, remove the orange peel, star anise and bay leaves and discard.

Blitz the soup with a hand blender to a puree and then push it through a fine sieve into a large bowl, making sure that you get as much of the lovely sauce as you can through the sieve. Discard the remanence.

Pour the soup back into the large saucepan and bring it back to the boil. Turn it down to a medium heat and add the prawns and the fish. Stir well and leave to cook on a gentle simmer for 5 minutes, until the prawns are pink and the fish starts to flake.

Meanwhile, place the mussels in the medium saucepan over a high heat. Pop a lid on and wait for the mussels to steam and open. Once they are all open pour them into the soup, with or without their shells. Make sure you pour in all their lovely salty juices from the pan as well.

Sprinkle over the parsley and serve. I like to serve with grated Parmesan and croutons or bread in separate bowls for people to help themselves. Enjoy!



Traditionally a Bouillabaisse is served with croutons of toasted baguette, grated Parmesan (or Gruyere) and a rouille. The rouille can be bread or potato based which is mixed with garlic, peeled and roasted red peppers, saffron, chilli and oil to help bind it. I haven’t included it here, as it is a bit of a faff (but not too much to bare) and I’m not sure it 100% adds anything to the party.”

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