Bouillabaisse Marseilles with Rouille

Adapted by
Yield: 4-6 servings


Bouillabaisse Marseilles
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ stalk celery, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 leek, trimmed and chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 small bulb fennel, cored and chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon saffron
½ pound white fish bones, preferably monk or halibut
½ cup pastis liqueur, or any licorice flavored liqueur, preferably Ricard or Pernod
1 cup dry white wine
1 ½ cups tomato sauce
1 tablespoon harissa sauce, to desired heat (another hot sauce can be substituted)
1 quart of water or fish stock
Bouquet garni including 1 sprig thyme, 1 sprig parsley, 1 bay leaf and the zest of 1 orange tied in cheesecloth
4 whole fish, 1 to 1 ½ pounds each, scaled and gutted, fins removed (snapper, grouper, john dory, bass, perch, bream, etc. No oily fish such as salmon or mackerel. )
1 baguette, sliced thin and toasted until crisp
1 ½ cups rouille (see recipe below)
Rouille (Spicy Saffron and Olive Oil Mayonnaise): (Yield: about 2 ½ cups)
1 cup bouillabaisse broth
Pinch of saffron
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons fresh garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons harissa sauce, to desired heat (another hot sauce can be substituted)
½ cup fresh sourdough bread crumbs
Pinch of white pepper
2 cups extra virgin olive oil


For the Bouillabaisse Marseilles

Place a large saucepan over medium heat. When the pan is hot add the olive oil and the celery, onion, leek, garlic, and fennel. Sweat the chopped vegetables until they become limp and slightly opaque but do not become brown. Add the ground coriander, saffron and a pinch of salt. Once the vegetables are limp, add the pastis, white wine, fish bones, tomato sauce and harissa sauce. Pour in the water or fish stock. Bring the mixture to a rapid simmer. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface and add the bouquet garni. The broth should be kept at a rapid simmer so that the olive oil incorporates well. Allow the broth to simmer for about 30 minutes, periodically skimming off any foam. After 30 minutes, remove the bouquet garni and as many bones as you can retrieve. Pass the broth through a food mill or press through a strainer. Return the broth to the pot and bring back to a rapid simmer. Lay all of the whole fish into the broth, making sure to place the larger fish on the bottom. Continue to cook the broth and fish, at a rapid simmer, for about 15 minutes. Very gently lift the fish out of the pot and place onto a large platter. Immediately fillet the fish and discard the head, tail and bones.

For the Rouille

In a small saucepot, combine the bouillabaisse broth and saffron. Bring to a boil. Cook until the volume of liquid has been reduced by two-thirds. Set aside and allow to cool. In a mixing bowl or food processor, combine the reduced broth with the egg yolks, garlic, mustard, sea salt, lemon juice, harissa, breadcrumbs and white pepper. Mix or process until thoroughly combined. Slowly add the olive oil and mix thoroughly until the olive oil is completely incorporated. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.

To Assemble and Serve

At the table, divide about half to two thirds of the fish into soup plates or bowls and ladle the broth over the fish. Spread the toasted baguette slices with generous amounts of rouille. Then float the bread on top of the bouillabaisse.