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Bouillabaisse or bouillabaise soup. Traditional French fish recipe step by step

Bouillabaisse or bouillabaise soup. Traditional French fish recipe step by step

people icon For 6 euro icon € 6.2 /pers. calories icon 205 kcal/100g


  • 1 kg of assorted white fish (hake, conger eel, monkfish,…)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A few strands of saffron
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 onions
  • 4 large potatoes
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 150 ml. extra virgin olive oil
  • Fennel seeds
  • 100g. of prawns
  • 150g. of mussels
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper (to each household’s taste)
  • Finely chopped fresh parsley
  • For the Rouille sauce:
  • 1 chilli or cayenne
  • 1 dried red pepper
  • 1 small potato
  • 1 egg
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Bouillabaisse or bouillabaise is a recipe that is the order of the day among lovers of French gastronomy. The history of this soup is, in a certain way, curious and romantic, a dish that began as a recipe used by fishermen in the south of France, clinging to the passage of time to become one of the culinary wonders of the French coasts. So that they say that the social elevator does not exist!

In fact, the name of this recipe, bouillabaise , refers to the leftover part of the fish ( baisse), which is boiled ( bouillir ). In this sense, this French fish soup may remind us of our own recipes, such as fish broth , but it cannot be denied that this dish has a clear personality of its own.

Due to its humble origin, a reliable bouillabaisse recipe will require some fish that not all of us have on hand, such as frogfish, spider fish or conger eel (in fact, the official recipe calls for a minimum of eight species of fish for a correct preparation); But today we are going to offer you a recipe so that you can recognize that aroma of Provencal gastronomy without having to visit all the fishmongers on the Mediterranean coast in search of an unknown fish.

How to prepare bouillabaisse

As we have mentioned before, a traditional recipe would include ingredients that are generally not within our reach. As a substitute for such specific fish, we will use a variety of white fish of our choice that we find in our trusted fishmonger, from hake to monkfish .

  1. The first thing we will do is cut the fish into pieces, in this case we have used hake that already comes clean from the fishmonger. We will place the fish in a dish, where we will have to paint it with 50 ml of oil, add a couple of pieces of saffron and two bay leaves. We put everything together and mix so that the flavors are integrated, and we cover our source with plastic wrap to store for an hour in our refrigerator.
  2. While the fish is marinating, chop the onion and garlic. Once done, we must blanch our tomatoes for half a minute in boiling water. After that, we will peel them and remove the seeds. You will also have to peel the potatoes and cut them into slices of approximately 1.5 centimeters.
  3. In a pot, we heat 100 ml. of olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic. Let the onion brown a little before adding the garlic.
  4. We added the tomato pulp that we had seeded and the fennel seeds to the pot. We let the tomato reduce for at least five minutes. Once that time has passed, we will have to add a liter and a half of water and let it come to a boil. When it is boiling, we will have to add the potatoes and let them cook for 15 minutes over low heat.
  5. At this point, the fish will already be marinated. We add the hake on top of the potatoes (this is a trick so that they do not break apart) and let the water come to a boil again. Once it is boiling, we repeat the process with the smaller fish (optional if we want to use another type of fish), the prawns and the mussels. When we have everything, we will also pour the marinade liquid.
  6. We cover the pot and let it cook for five minutes, so that the clams and mussels open. Once they have opened, remove the pot from the heat and season with salt and pepper.

The recipe would be this, but a self-respecting bouillabaisse is accompanied by a good rouille sauce , a typical sauce from Provence with a spicy touch from potatoes, paprika, chilli and garlic. In some ways, this sauce is reminiscent of our romesco sauce . We also leave you here how to prepare it, it is quite simple.

How to prepare rouille sauce

  1. Peel three cloves of garlic and chop them finely. We make pecacitos the chili pepper (or, failing that, a cayenne).
  2. We make a quick aioli from an egg, extra virgin olive oil and the ingredients we have prepared before. We add a dried red pepper, a couple of tablespoons of boullabesa broth, a small cooked potato and integrate all the ingredients.

With this, you already have a delicious bouillabaisse. If you serve with a little toasted bread rubbed with garlic and olive oil, the result will be spectacular. The truth is that this fish recipe is to give a taste to the palate. And do you dare to try it?

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