Bouillabaisse: Something Smells Fishy!

Today was a productive day!  I had went to a cable class last night at the gym and was really, really hurting this morning.  I feel muscles that I usually forget I have.  As much as I wanted to just laze around and relax I decided that I should go back to the gym today and do some cardio and stretching for my very sore legs.  I am very glad I decided to go, but I’m still awfully sore.  After I finished at the gym I stopped at the grocery store to buy some seafood for making Bouillabaisse.  Piyush was requesting I make it and I was kind of craving it so it seemed like a good night to learn to cook seafood.  I’ve never really cooked seafood much before so I was a little nervous, but it was so easy!!!  I was really intimidated by the mussels and clams, but I ended up showing them who was boss and they opened with no issues.


What, exactly, is Bouillabaisse?

Bouillabaisse is a French style seafood soup, and it is yummy!  In a traditional bouillabaisse there are at least 3 different types of fish, most which are not available in Rochester, Minnesota.  The broth is flavored with vegetables, shellfish, herbs and spices.  Saffron is a spice that usually plays a large part in the flavor of the bouillabaisse and although it is quite expensive (the priciest spice in the world!), I don’t recommend leaving it out.  The name bouillabaisse comes from the way the dish is prepared.  The ingredients are cooked separately and are not added all at one time.  The broth is boiled first and then the fish are added one by one.  Each time the broth comes to a boil the heat is lowered.


This recipe was inspired by the Bouillabaisse I had at Zzest a few weeks ago.  I  knew most of the ingredients to use but had no idea of the quantities or the techniques.  I just bought what I knew I needed and a few other things that I thought would work well.  It took about an hour and a half, most of that time was spent letting the broth simmer and develop the flavor.  And let me tell you, this seafood stew is amazing!  It tasted just as good as what you would get at a restaurant.


I don’t really measure things when I cook but I tried my best to estimate and write down what I did so that I can make this many more times!

Piyush liked it so much that he even gave me an A+, and he never gives anything an A+.  Usually he has so many opinions on everything I cook.   This dinner was the perfect way to end the day.  I had a nice, big glass of wine—a red from Cannon Falls, MN.  Its called “Gunflint Red” and it is wonderful!  It sort of reminds me of a malbec.  It’s a little peppery and paired wonderful with the Bouillabaisse.

Its a good thing he enjoyed his dinner, it made so much that we'll be eating it for a couple days!

The Recipe

  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • About 2 large red potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 fat garlic cloves, minced
  • about 1 c. dry white wine, maybe even more?
  • 28oz. chopped plum tomatoes + juice
  • large pinch of saffron
  • salt/pepper to season
  • about 1/2 c. flat leaf parsley, chopped very fine
  • bunch of chopped chives
  • olive oil, as needed
  • zest of 1 orange
  • scallops, jumbo shrimp, mussels, clams, ect. (I used the previous in addition to a 1lb. cod fillet) –amount based on how many servings you are making


  • Heat some olive oil in a heavy dutch oven.  Once it gets hot add the potatoes, onions, garlic, green pepper and orange zest.  Cover and sweat everything until it’s tender and perfect!
  • Deglaze the pan with the white wine.  Stir it together and bring to a boil.
  • Add the tomatoes, parsley and chives.  Simmer, stirring occasionally until the broth looks rich and soup-like.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  The broth will taste a little “off” at this point.  The wine will be strong and so will the acidity from the tomatoes.  That’s okay.
  • Add about 1 cup of water and the pinch of saffron.  Let the saffron steep for about 10 minutes.  Stir everything together and give it another taste.  Add more saffron if you want.  Don’t add a lot right away though because it’s pretty strong and can be very overwhelming.
  • Turn the flame to about med-high and add the clams/mussels into the broth.  Cover the dutch oven and let them cook (about 3 minutes).  When they open, remove them with tongs and place them into a bowl.  Set this aside.
  • While the broth simmers along, deepening the flavor, start cooking the seafood individually.
  • When your scallops are perfectly seared and your shrimps are a pretty pink, put everything back into the broth and let it simmer about 15 minutes or until everything is heated through.

Serve with some grilled bread and a stellar wine!  Enjoy!

Piyush's dinner, before he dived in!

If you decide to have an amazing bouillabaisse dinner, make sure you add an empty bowl to your table.  You’re going to need a place to get rid of all those shells!

And now I’m going to go watch Teen Mom.  …Don’t judge me! 🙂


4 thoughts on “Bouillabaisse: Something Smells Fishy!

  1. marie

    hello, I discover your blog today and I have to say that I love it.
    I am in Rochester for a few weeks and I try to cook as I do at home. In fact I search to buy saffron in rochester to make a good risotto but I am not able to find it!! Can you tell me if there is a special place to find it here? a good store, where I can find good and fresh stuff? thank you.

    1. Shari Post author

      Thanks for visiting my blog! I’m glad that you like it! Unfortunately, Rochester is not an ultra amazing town market-wise. I usually buy my saffron at the Pakistani store downtown. I believe it’s called International Spice–it’s next to the Kabab restaurant.

      As for seafood, I choose to buy it from HyVee, off civic center drive. On Thursdays Rochester Produce gets in fresh seafood.

      Produce is hit or miss. Now that it’s gardening season, I try to buy fresh from farmers. Otherwise I pick up the produce at HyVee as well.

      I wish you luck!!! Let me know if there is anything else I can help with! 🙂

  2. Pingback: Indian Inspired Mussel Pilaf « My Fancy Pantry

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