I first had bouillabaisse a few years ago while vacationing in southern France. At that time, I barely knew what it was, let alone how to pronounce it. I fell in love with this Provençal stew mainly because of the fresh variety of seafood and the distinct flavor combination from the fennel, orange zest, and saffron. It took me a while to build up the courage to make it at home. But once I finally gave it a try, I realized it wasn’t difficult at all to make, and it fit mystyle of cooking perfectly because everything cooks right in one pot.
SERVES 4 TO 6 / PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES / COOK TIME: 20 MINUTES
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1/3 cup finely chopped fennel fronds
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
6 cups seafood stock (vegetable stock works also)
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
8 ounces cod, cut into 1- to 2-inch chunks
8 ounces halibut, cut into 1- to 2-inch chunks
8 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
10 clams, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes, drained, and scrubbed
10 mussels, scrubbed, beards removed
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
Your favorite crusty artisan bread, optional, for serving
1. In a large, heavy soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium
to high heat. Add the onion, garlic, fennel and orange zest. Season with salt and black pepper and add the saffron. Cookfor 2 to 3 minutes, until fragrant. Add seafood stock and the tomatoes. Bring to a boil.
2. Once boiling, reduce the heat and bring to a simmer. Add the cod and halibut. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes.
3. Next, add the shrimp, clams, and mussels. Cook for another 5 to 6 minutes, until the clam and mussel shellshave opened, the shrimp turns pink, and the fish flakeseasily with a fork. Discard any mussels or clams that haven’t opened.
4. Turn off the heat, add the fresh parsley, and stir. Ladle thestew into bowls and serve warm with slices of crusty bread, if desired.