Few experiences are more magical than sitting seaside at twilight, sipping white wine and savoring the famous fish soup called bouillabaisse.

Georgeanne Brennan
This Story Originally Appeared On sunset.com


Credit: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Randy Mon

Recipe Summary test

1 hr
1 hr
Serves 8 to 10


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Heat oil in a large, wide pot over medium-high heat. Sauté leek and onion until translucent, 2 minutes. Add garlic, then fennel slices from under fish on platter. Sauté 2 minutes, then add tomatoes, stock, wine, bay leaf, thyme, pepper, and salt.

  • Remove fish from platter; set aside. Lift off fennel stalks and fronds and discard. Scrape marinade into broth. Bring to a boil, covered; then simmer, covered, until fennel slices are meltingly soft, 30 minutes. Meanwhile, bring 1 qt. water to a boil.

  • Bring broth to a rolling boil. Lay in the halibut and add enough boiling water to just cover fish. Cook until just opaque, 5 to 7 minutes; transfer to a platter and cover.

  • Add thinner fish fillets and spot prawns and cook just until opaque, 2 minutes; transfer to platter as done. Add crab and mussels and cook just until mussels open, 5 minutes. Transfer both to platter. Add squid and cook just until opaque, about 1 minute; transfer to platter. Bathe platter with a ladle of broth. Remove bay leaf and thyme.

  • Ladle about 1 cup broth each into big soup bowls (keep broth hot for a second serving, covered). Bring bowls, platter, rouille, and toasts to the table. Put a little of each seafood in every bowl and top with a dollop of rouille. Serves 8 to

  • Make ahead: Add fish to remaining broth and keep, chilled, up to 5 days.

  • Buying Guide

  • When choosing your seafood, try to vary the textures and flavors. Some should be firm, others soft; some mild, others briny. Find them at a good seafood shop or your farmers' market.

  • Alaskan snow crab legs: Very firm, lobsterlike texture; sweet and mild. Usually only available cooked.

  • California mussels: Briny flavor; soft, melting texture with a bit of chew.

  • California squid (calamari): Firm but tender; sweet yet meaty. It's neither fish nor shellfish, really, but it gives great texture and flavor to the soup.

  • Dungeness crab: Flaky; sweet and moist.

  • Pacific cod (true cod, gray cod): Delicate; mild flavor.

  • Pacific halibut: Firm, with mild flavor.

  • Petrale sole: Delicate texture; mild, sweet flavor.

  • Rockfish (black bass, sea bass, black snapper): Medium-firm; clean sea flavor.

  • Sablefish (black cod): Silky, medium-firm; rich, buttery flavor.

  • Spiny lobsters: Succulent and firm. Can use, cooked, instead of crab. Available from fall to spring.

  • Spot prawns: Incredibly sweet taste and tender-crisp; keep head and tail on for the most flavor. Can be hard to find.

  • Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.

Nutrition Facts

737 calories; calories from fat 53%; protein 50g; fat 45g; saturated fat 7.1g; carbohydrates 34g; fiber 3.4g; sodium 1149mg; cholesterol 296mg.