Bouillabaisse – a seafood extravaganza in no time

Seafood lovers love bouillabaisse, a seafood soup or stew that’s brimming with intricate flavours and every kind of seafood. Traditionally, this French dish simmered all day long.  But this impressive dish including washing, prepping and cooking will take you less than an hour to make and will look and taste as if you toiled for hours. 

Now that you have the know-how to pick the freshest, best-tasting seafoods thanks to last week’s blog entry, why not make this spectacular dish?



½ cup olive oil

1 bulb fennel, stems trimmed, cored, and sliced

1 large onion, peeled and sliced

1 small leek, white and light green parts only, sliced

1 large tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped

3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

1 tbsp tomato paste

Cayenne pepper to taste

1 tsp saffron threads

2 medium russet potatoes, peeled, diced

6 cups fish stock

1 bouquet garni

Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

1 lb (450 g) peeled shrimp

1 lb (450 g) cod, halibut, or other flaky white fish, cut into large chunks

1 lb (450 g) mussels, scrubbed and debearded

2 strips of orange zest

Juice from a large orange


  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.

  2. Add the fennel, onions, and leeks, and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until just they just begin to tenderize, about 5 minutes.

  3. Add the tomato and garlic. Cover, and continue cooking until the tomatoes begin to break down, 2–3 minutes.

  4. Add the tomato paste, cayenne, saffron, potatoes, fish stock, and bouquet garni. Add the orange juice and orange zest. Season with salt and pepper and bring the liquid to a boil.

  5. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer until the potatoes are cooked, 10–15 minutes.

  6. Add the seafood in the order of firmness and cooking time, with the denser fillets of fish going in the pot first, followed by shellfish and last the shrimp, mussels and scallops. 

  7. Simmer the soup, stirring very minimally to preserve the whole pieces of seafood, until the shellfish have opened and the fish fillets have cooked through, 5–10 minutes depending on the seafood being used.

  8. To serve, remove and discard the bouquet garni and the orange zest. Carefully remove the fish and shellfish, arranging them in warm bowls. Ladle the broth and potatoes over the fish and garnish with herbs such as dill, fennel fronds or parsley. Serve warm.