January 2, 2014


Happy new year! We are back with more soups than you can shake a stick at!

What better way to revive a blog than with a fresh makeover and a beautiful soup that is so much easier than the name would imply.  We noticed we did not really have any seafood recipes on this old blog, so we decided to jump into the fanciest sounding fish stew around, Bouillibaisse.  Here is our feedback on the outcome: 

Vanessa says:
Full disclosure - I'm not a huge fan of seafood and consider it my least adventurous side with it comes to eating.  Overall I think the best part of this soup was the broth.  There was something so rich about the subtle orange flavor and the saffron gave it the most beautiful color.  Even though I don't think we overcooked the fish it was still a bit rubbery for my liking, possibly because that was the only texture to the whole soup.  I found myself brainstorming ways to use this broth in other soups but without fish or maybe just less fish and other items added in.  However if you are a big seafood fan then you will think this soup is the bee's knees! 

Michelle says:
In contrast to Vanessa, I love seafood and I was excited to make this extravagant-sounding soup that I had never even eaten before.  Though it seemed a shame to strain everything out, the broth was amazing! So vibrant and fragrant, infused with citrus, herbs, and saffron.  I could have drank a gallon of this stuff.  If I made this soup again I would maybe add even more herbs, or just a different combination. Oregano seems to be used in this soup most often and when I was buying the herbs the store was out of oregano! So I grabbed tarragon and marjoram in its place.  I agree with V that the texture of this soup was not the most interesting or varied, but I still loved it. Maybe a different combo of seafood would make a difference. Adding some potatoes after straining but before adding the fish would be a good way to bulk up this soup if you did not want bread or if you just wanted a heartier stew.
2013-12-29 Bouillabaisse 004

We used this recipe from Steamy Kitchen as a starting point, and here is the recipe as we made it:

Serves 6

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 leek, white and light green parts only, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
peel of 1 orange (a vegetable peeler works great)
3 tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup chopped fennel bulb (reserve fronds for garnish)
a bunch of fresh herbs (we used parsley, thyme, tarragon, and marjoram)
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
10 cups fish stock (see original post for help making your own fish stock)
1 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon sea salt
3 pounds of assorted fish and shellfish (clams and mussels scrubbed clean). We used 1 lb clams, 1 lb petrale sole, 1/2 lb prawns, and 1/2 lb sea scallops. Other options would be salmon, lobster, crab, mussels, bass, etc.

Seriously isn't this the most gorgeous pile of ingredients?? The fish was also beautiful and I am a little sad we did not take a proper photo of it, especially the clams!
2013-12-29 Bouillabaisse 001

1. In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil on medium heat.  When hot, add the leek, onion, and garlic.  Saute for 5 minutes until onions are softened but not brown.

2. Add to the pot the orange peel, tomatoes, fennel bulb, fresh herbs, saffron, wine, fish stock, and salt.  Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil.  Then turn the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.  Strain the soup into another large pot.

3.  Bring the strained soup to a boil over medium high heat.  Taste the broth at this point and add additional salt if needed.  The soup should be slightly salty, as this adds to the flavor of the fish.

4. Add in the seafood, adding in the items that require the most cooking time first.  If you have whole lobster tails or large crab claws, add them in first and give them a 2 minute head start.  Clams come next, then mussels and extra large shrimp, lastly the fish, scallops, and any smaller shrimp.  Be careful not to overcook the seafood. This should take about 4 to 5 minutes and then turn off the heat.

5.  Ladle this glorious soup into each bowl with the seafood and garnish with fresh fennel fronds.  Ooh and aah as you slurp. And don't forget to get some delicious rustic bread to dunk in the broth!

Here is a quick video of how this process went:


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