Simple French – Style Seaside Bouillabaisse

Laissez les bons temps rouler – Let the good times roll.


A few of you asked for casual company-worthy dinner ideas for a bit of an “upscale” seafood dish for lent beyond fried fish and here is one that I made last night.

Since I make seafood stock of all kinds throughout the year I am always prepared with a “stocked” up freezer so to speak.  I can’t tolerate the boxed versions that I see, way too strong for me, but I live near all of the available fish and shellfish we can handle so it is no trouble to head to the seafood markets for odds and ends to toss into a pot of other basic ingredients for a stock, but lobster is not one of our abundant shellfish.  So for that, we pick up lobster now and then or order several from the local church lobster fest in the fall and I reserve all shells for the stock in the future.  We eat a lot of shrimp so I save the shells specifically for stock

Not everyone is that lucky so find good sources for chef’s concentrated seafood, but it is out there…

French-Style Bouillabaisse for two…

3-4 cups homemade seafood stock
2 tablespoons EVOO
1 chopped leek light white and light green parts
1 green stalk from a fennel bulb, finely minced and several little branches of the fronds
1/2 cup diced onions
3 fat cloves minced garlic
large pinch of saffron threads
3 each fresh parsley and thyme sprigs
1/4 cup red or white wine
1 small sprig tarragon
*Optional 1/4 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
1 large ripe heirloom tomato, large diced
1/2-1 cup crushed or chopped tomatoes, you really can use up to two cups
Salt and pepper to taste
pinches of red pepper flakes or a pinch of cayenne pepper
Enough fresh shrimp for two
1 chunk of Mahi-Mahi cut into 3-inch chunks
6 fresh local sea  scallops
8 fresh mussels, or I pre-cooked a 1 lb. package of frozen garlic butter mussels, they were really good following the instructions 2-3 minutes in the microwave on high and simply placing them in each bowl before serving the full-on bouillabaisse over the top of the mussels.
*Optional 6 fresh clams

*follow recommendation below to open your fresh shellfish

Serve with rouille over toasted bread or I make garlic and roasted pepper baguette.

Because it was sitting there, I cooked from start to finish in the Instant Pot, but all the while used the sauté and keep warm settings.  The sauté is set on medium to sauté the onions, leek, fennel adding garlic last of course for a minute and then tossing in saffron and wine/red or white to deglaze the pot for a minute.

Add the 1/4-1/2 teaspoon, Herbes de Provence, fresh herbs, 1 large ripe heirloom tomato, large diced, 1/2-1 cup crushed or chopped tomatoes, salt, and pepper to taste, red pepper flakes, simmer until piping hot…now the fish and seafood selections take different times to cook no matter your choices and tonight since I pre-cooked the mussels it was a matter of yes the fish cubes dove in first, then the shrimp followed by the scallops, serve piping hot all ladled into the bowl of warm mussels, garnish with minced parsley or a bit of fresh tarragon.

Recommendation to ensure shellfish open, place them in a small sauté pan with some of the sauce from the pot, cover and gently steam open.

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