Bouillabaisse: Live Cooking Demo with Cap Times

February 27, 2021

We were happy to participate in the first event of a video cooking series with the Cap Times. For this event, Cap Times food editor Lindsay Christians talks with Chef Evan and Colton as Evan demonstrates how to prepare the classic French fish stew known as bouillabaisse.

Watch the cooking demo here:


Serves 8. Estimated prep time: 45 minutes. Estimated cook time: 60 minutes.

Bouillabaisse (BOO·yuh·beis) is a classic Provençal fish stew. Historically, this was a “shore lunch” stew made from fish not suitable for selling at the market. The basic preparation would be boiling a pot of water with potatoes, vegetables, and spices to make a flavorful stock, then adding a combination of bony fish and shellfish and boiling until fully cooked. 

The stew would be served with slices of baguette spread with rouille, a saffron-colored, cayenne pepper-spiced aioli.

A note about ingredients: All ingredients are available from most well-stocked grocery and liquor stores. Cadre advises purchasing the freshest and highest quality ingredients available, choosing organic and local when possible.

A note about timing: It is preferable to make the rouille a day or more ahead of time for the flavors to marry. The bouillabaisse broth can be made ahead as well and refrigerated for up to seven days or frozen for future use. Note that the fish needs to sit in a saltwater bath for at least an hour. 

Recommended serving are 2 ounces of fish, five mussels, and two clams per person. Serve with one or two large French baguettes, sliced and toasted. Bon appetit!

Fish and shellfish

❖ 1 pound fresh lean fish filets (local whitefish or cod recommended; avoid salmon or trout)

❖ 40 fresh mussels (stored on ice until prep time)

❖ 16 clams (stored on ice until prep time)

To prepare the fish: 90 minutes before meal time, remove skin from fish fillets and slice into 2-ounce portions. Soak shellfish in cold water bath with additional ice and salt (leave for at least one hour). 



❖ 1 lemon, juiced

❖ 1 head of garlic, peeled and pressed or mashed

❖ 1 cup mayonnaise (preferably Duke’s)

❖ 3 pistils (threads) of saffron

❖ 5 drops Sriracha

❖ chopped parsley (optional)

To prepare the rouille: Juice the lemon, chop the parsley and crush the garlic. Combine all ingredients and mix vigorously with a spoon or whisk, then adjust seasoning to taste. The flavors of the rouille will marry and intensify over time so preparing a day before mealtime is recommended though not necessary. Rouille may be refrigerated and enjoyed for up to seven days.



❖ 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

❖ 1 yellow onion (medium-sized), sliced into thin strips

❖ 1 fennel bulb, julienned, fronds reserved for garnish

❖ 12 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

❖ 3 ounces crisp white wine (such as picpoul, pinot grigio or muscadet)

❖ 2 1/2 quarts fumet (fish stock) 

❖ 3 1/2 pints canned plum tomatoes, drained of liquid, tomatoes crushed in the can

❖ 2 pounds red potatoes (preferably “new” or un-cellared potatoes), sliced into 1/4-inch coins

❖ 1 whole bay leaf (preferably fresh)

❖ pinch of saffron (roughly 8-10 pistils or threads)

❖ 3 ounces Pastis or Absinthe (e.g. Pernod or Prince Pastis de Marseille)

❖ 1 tablespoon Sriracha

❖ 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

❖ 4 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

❖ salt and pepper, to taste


To prepare the bouillabaisse broth: Heat stockpot on medium-low. Add olive oil. When the oil is warm, add onions, fennel, and garlic, turn the heat to low, and sweat until translucent and fragrant.

Add wine and simmer, 2-3 minutes. Add fumet, tomatoes, potatoes, bay leaf, and saffron. Stir, then raise heat to high and bring broth to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are fork-tender.

Add Pernod or Absinthe, Sriracha, chopped parsley, and thyme. Turn off the heat and stir again. Allow broth to rest and flavors to marry while proceeding to prepare the fish and bread. Taste and adjust seasonings.


20 minutes before the meal, preheat the oven to 350°F. On a sheet pan, toast sliced baguette for about 7 minutes. Add several ladles of broth to a large saucepan (about a finger depth) and heat on high.

Add chilled clams and fish to the saucepan with more white wine (optional). Cover and steam until some of the clams begin to open, 3-4 minutes. Add mussels and continue to steam until all shellfish open. Remove from heat.

To serve, ladle hot broth into a bowl. Fish and shellfish can be portioned at this time into each bowl or served in a communal platter on the table, garnished with fennel fronds. Bring out the toasted bread and the rouille. 

Pour excess wine or a shot of pastis and make a toast. Santé!


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