Bouillabaisse Recipe
Traditional French Food at Home

This Bouillabaisse Recipe is for the Mediterranean fisherman’s stew made famous by the city of Marseilles. It is on French menus in many of the seaside cities in Provence along the Mediterranean.

The ingredients are different depending on where in Provence you are but what remains the same is that the flavors are very much Provencal.

What makes the best bouillabaisse? The freshest fish and a variety of fish, plus a good fish stock.

We had it for Christmas dinner last year and it was a wonderful, warming and a delicious change from the traditional roast we usually have. I’m hoping for it again this Christmas.

bouillabaisse recipe

For traditional French food at home you can serve this at a dinner party or simply for family. It doesn’t have to be a special occasion.

It is one of the popular French foods prepared in French households.

There are 3 steps to this recipe.

1st you make the bouillabaisse fish soup base

2nd you make the Rouille (spicy mayonnaise) and toast your bread slices

3rd you cook the fish.

Bouillabaisse Recipe

Prep time: 60 minutes

Cooking time: 80 minutes

Serves: 6 - 8

Fish Soup Base Ingredients:

For the Bouillabaisse Fish soup:

1 cup minced onion

¾ cup minced leek, white and green parts (cleaned well)

½ cup olive oil

4 cloves mashed garlic

1 lb ripe tomatoes or 1 ½ can tomatoes (drained)

2 ½ quarts water

6 sprigs parsley

½ tsp thyme

1/8 tsp fennel seed

2 pinches saffron

½ peel of an orange or dried orange peel

1/8 tsp pepper

1 T salt

3 ½ lbs fish heads, bones, shells from shrimp (if on hand) using non oily fish only

Bouillabaisse Recipe step by step guide:

The Bouillabaisse Fish Soup Base

1. In a stockpot add olive oil, onions and leeks. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes until tender but not browned.

2. Turn heat up to medium as you stir in garlic and tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes.

3. Add remaining ingredients to the pot. Simmer uncovered skimming often, 30 to 40 minutes.

4. Strain into a clean pot, squeezing any excess liquid from the ingredients.

Set aside. Can be made up to a day ahead.

The Rouille (spicy mayonnaise):

Preparation time: 5 min

- 2 cloves of fresh garlic
- 1 ½ Tablespoon paprika

- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- Olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

- 1 egg yolk
- toasted French bread bread slices

1. In a bowl mix mustard and egg yolk with a fork.

2. Pour olive oil into the mixture in a slow stream, whisking without stopping until the mixture has a firm consistency, a solid color, as mayonnaise.

We prepared the garlic with a mortar and pestle but a garlic press is good too.

3. Stir in 2 cloves pressed garlic, and spices.

4. Cover and set aside in the refigerator.

Bouillabaisse Recipe

Cook the Fish:


6 lbs lean assorted fish and (optional)shellfish. Possibilites include halibut, sole, red snapper, eel, monkfish and fresh water trout.

1. Bring the fish soup to a rapid boil 20 minutes before serving.

2. Add the firm fleshed fish. Return to a boil and boil rapidly for 5 minutes.

3. Add the tender fish. Boil again 5 minutes or until fish is done.

Do not overcook.

4. Immediately lift out the fish and arrange on a platter.

5. Ladle soup into a tureen. Serve.

On the table with the bouillabaisse, have a basket of toasted French bread slices, a plate of 6 - 8 garlic cloves, and the rouille (spicy mayonnaise).

To eat:

Take a piece of toast and rub the raw garlic on top

Then spread a thin layer of the rouille.

Place in bottom of your soup bowl. Ladel soup on top. Add some fish or eat it the side.

And now you’re ready!

Return from Bouillabaisse Recipe to French Culture Adventures

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Copyright ©2024 by Deborah Dutton,
All rights reserved