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Thai-Coconut Bouillabaisse

Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Jan Gautro
Yield 6 servings
Be sure to reserve the shells after peeling the shrimp; you'll need them to make the broth. Bouillabaisse is a classic Provençal seafood stew.


  • Cooking spray
  • 1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined (reserve shells)
  • 1 cup chopped celery, divided
  • 1 cup chopped carrot, divided
  • 1 cup chopped onion, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups cold water
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomato
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 teaspoon red curry paste
  • 4 (2 x 1/2–inch) lime rind strips
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can light coconut milk
  • 12 littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 12 mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (6-ounce) skinned halibut fillet or other lean white fish fillet, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Lime wedges (optional)

Nutrition Information

  • calories 226
  • caloriesfromfat 27 %
  • fat 6.9 g
  • satfat 3.5 g
  • monofat 1.2 g
  • polyfat 1.2 g
  • protein 30.4 g
  • carbohydrate 10.4 g
  • fiber 1.4 g
  • cholesterol 143 mg
  • iron 8 mg
  • sodium 599 mg
  • calcium 96 mg

How to Make It

  1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add shrimp shells to pan; cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 1/2 cup celery, 1/2 cup carrot, and 1/2 cup onion to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Stir in 2 1/2 cups water, peppercorns, and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain mixture through a sieve over a bowl; discard solids.

  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add remaining 1/2 cup celery, 1/2 cup carrot, and 1/2 cup onion to pan; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add bell pepper; cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato, garlic, curry paste, and rind; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in broth mixture and coconut milk; bring to a boil. Add clams and mussels. Cover, reduce heat, and cook 2 minutes or until clams and mussels open. Remove from heat; discard any unopened shells. Stir in shrimp, basil, and remaining ingredients except lime wedges. Cover and let stand 5 minutes or until shrimp and halibut are done. Discard lime rind. Place 2 clams and 2 mussels in each of 6 bowls. Divide shrimp and fish evenly among bowls. Ladle 2/3 cup broth mixture over each serving. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.

  3. Wine note: In the south of France, bouillabaisse is traditionally served with a dry rosé. And dry rosé is the best choice even with this not-so-traditional version. The kick of the red curry paste and cilantro, plus the exotic thick creaminess of the coconut milk, need a refreshing wine that has more weight and power than a white. Try any number of rosés from California. One of my favorites: Saxon Brown Flora Ranch Rosé 2006 from Chalk Hill ($20). —Karen MacNeil