Bouillabaisse with fennel and bay

Bouillabaisse with fennel and bay
  • Serves icon Serves 4-6
  • Time icon Hands-on time 40 min, simmering time 30-35 min

Debbie Major’s bouillabaisse recipe is a French classic. Serve with rouille (a spiced garlic and red pepper mayonnaise) and a sprinkling of cheese.

Nutrition: per serving

Calories
451kcals
Fat
28.2g (4g saturated)
Protein
25.4g
Carbohydrates
21.3g (5.4g sugars)
Fibre
4.6g
Salt
2.3g
Calories
451kcals
Fat
28.2g (4g saturated)
Protein
25.4g
Carbohydrates
21.3g (5.4g sugars)
Fibre
4.6g
Salt
2.3g

For 6 servings

Ingredients

For the stew

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large leek, thinly sliced
  • 1 large fennel bulb, halved and thinly sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 strips pared orange zest
  • 450g vine ripened tomatoes, skinned and roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp tomato purée
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp saffron strands
  • 8 small bay leaves
  • 1 large fresh thyme sprig, leaves picked
  • 1 litre fresh fish stock (see tips)
  • 450g small floury potatoes, such as maris piper, thickly sliced
  • 250g monkfish fillet
  • 250g red mullet or gurnard fillet
  • 8-12 cooked Mediterranean crevettes (head-on king prawns)
  • 600g rope-grown mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 2 tbsp pastis, such as Pernod
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh fennel herb (see Know-how)

For the rouille

  • 15g day-old white breadcrumbs
  • 1 large free-range egg yolk
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 30g roasted red pepper, skinned (from a jar)
  • 1 fat garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tsp harissa paste
  • ½ tsp tomato purée
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • 150ml olive oil
  • Grated parmesan (optional) and a crusty baguette, sliced, to serve

Method

  1. For the rouille, put all the ingredients except the olive oil, cheese and baguette into a food processor and blend until smooth. With the motor still running, slowly trickle in the olive oil until it has a thick, mayonnaise-like texture. (You can do this in a pestle and mortar, but it will take much longer.) Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding plenty of salt. Scoop into a small serving bowl, cover and chill until needed.
  2. For the stew, heat the olive oil in a large flameproof casserole. Add the onion, leek, fennel and garlic, then cook gently for 5-6 minutes until soft but not coloured. Add the orange zest, tomatoes, tomato purée, chilli flakes, saffron, bay leaves and thyme, then cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the fish stock and sliced potatoes, bring to the boil, then simmer for about 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
  3. Meanwhile, slice the monkfish and red mullet/gurnard into thick slices, drop them into the stew and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the cooked crevettes and the mussels, then cover and simmer for 2 minutes more or until the mussels have opened (discard any that don’t open), the crevettes have heated through and the fish is cooked through.
  4. Stir in the pastis and most of the fennel herb, then season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the rest of the fennel herb and serve in large warmed soup plates with the rouille (which I like to swirl into the stew), and hunks of crusty baguette sprinkled with parmesan, if you like.

delicious. tips

  1. Fish stock recipe – Ask your fishmonger for the bones from your fish, plus a few extra flat fish bones. You’ll need about 1kg altogether. Put 1 sliced onion, 1 sliced fennel bulb, 1 small sliced carrot, 1 sliced celery stick, 1 large fresh thyme sprig and 6 bay leaves into a pan with 2.5 litres of water. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, then add the 1kg fish bones and simmer for another 20 minutes. Strain, then simmer a little longer if necessary until reduced to about 1 litre.

    If you’re not a fan of soft fish skin, ask the fishmonger to skin the fish for you.

  2. Make the rouille up to 48 hours ahead. Keep covered in the fridge and bring to room temperature to serve. Make the stew up to the end of step 2 up to 48 hours ahead and chill, covered, so the flavours develop.

  3. Debbie says: “Fennel herb is an easy-to-grow perennial and a must for any cook’s garden. If you can’t find any, add a teaspoon of lightly crushed fennel seeds to the stew and garnish the dish with the feathery fronds from the fennel bulb.”

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