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Bouillabaisse (Seafood in Saffron Broth) with Creamy Garlic Aioli

Serves: Makes 4 servings


  • Garlic aioli:
  • 1 red bell pepper, roasted and peeled
  • 1 medium garlic clove
  • 1 (2-inch-thick) piece of baguette, torn into pieces
  • 1 large egg yolk*
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, plus more as needed
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • Bouillabaisse:
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grilling bread
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced and well rinsed
  • 1 small fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced, some fronds reserved for garnish
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced, plus 1 garlic clove halved
  • 3 strips (1- by 2-inch) orange zest removed with a vegetable peeler
  • 1 teaspoon toasted fennels seeds, coarsely ground
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ cup Pernod or Pastis
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
  • 1½ cups chopped ripe tomatoes or good quality diced canned tomatoes, drained
  • 5 cups Fish Broth, homemade (see attached recipe) or low-sodium store-bought
  • 2 medium (about ½ pound) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound white fish (such as monkfish, turbot, red snapper or cod), cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 16 to 20 (about 1 pound) shellfish, such as mussels and clams, scrubbed and beards removed
  • ½ pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ½ baguette or any rustic loaf, cut into ½-inch-thick slices

*Sur La Table recommends using caution when consuming raw or undercooked eggs, due to the slight risk of food-borne illness.


This is the ultimate seafood stew hailing from the Provence region of France. The trick to a terrific bouillabaisse is creating a complex and flavorful broth while not overcooking the delicate seafood.

For the aioli: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the roasted red pepper, garlic, bread, egg yolk, Dijon, lemon juice, salt and pepper. While the food processor is running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Taste and adjust seasoning. Transfer aioli to a small serving bowl and set aside.

Place a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add oil. Add shallot, leek and fennel and sauté, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, orange zest, fennel and bay leaf; cook until aromatic, about 1 minute.

Deglaze pan with Pernod and add saffron and tomatoes; cook until fragrant and to allow the flavors of the spices to develop, about 5 minutes. Add fish broth and potatoes; bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon until flavors meld, about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. (To make ahead, prepare the stew up to this step and store refrigerated. About 20 minutes before serving, return broth to a simmer and proceed with the recipe.)

For the grilled bread: Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Rub sliced bread with halved garlic and brush lightly with olive oil. Grill bread until slightly charred around the edges and well grill marked. Transfer to a platter or bowl and cover with a clean towel or foil to keep warm.

To finish bouillabaisse: To the simmering broth over medium-high heat, add mussels and clams; stir, then cover and cook for 2 minutes. Add fish and shrimp; stir and cover. When the stew returns to a simmer and seafood is just cooked through, about 5 minutes, remove from heat.

Discard any unopened mussels or clams. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Chop 2 tablespoons of fennel fronds and stir into stew. (Reheat stew as needed, but note seafood will toughen with prolonged cooking.)

To serve: Traditionally bouillabaisse is served by placing the toasted bread in individual bowls and ladling seafood and broth over. For a slightly lighter version, ladle and arrange an even portion of seafood and broth into serving bowls, top each with a teaspoon of aioli and serve with the grilled bread and extra aioli on the side.

Tested and perfected in the Sur la Table kitchen

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