5 people
1 hr 30 min

A classic French fish soup with seafood that comes from the city of Marseille. Packed with delicate flavors of fennel, tomato, saffron, orange and with fresh fish and seafood, this dish is sure to delight the taste buds. Serve with a classic rouille and lots of French stick for mopping up the beautifully fragrant broth. Our bouillabaisse recipe does have a big list of ingredients there’s no hiding that’s what builds the layers of flavour. But the ingredients are fairly common and we keep the method simple. This dish is perfect for making ahead and a delicious way to feed a crowd. So if you love fish and seafood (like we do!), then this is a dish for you, let us walk you through it!


For the soup base:

  • Olive oil
  • 10 whole prawns – peeled/ cleaned. Keep the heads and shells
  • Onion
  • Fennel
  • Leek
  • Garlic
  • Bay leave
  • Parsley – fresh leaves and stalks separated.
  • Dried thyme
  • Red chilli
  • Orange peel
  • Star anise
  • Saffron
  • Tomato puree
  • Tomatoes
  • White wine
  • Chicken stock

For my Bouillabaisse, I like to blend my base into a thick soup. Some people like to strain the vegetables out and use the broth for the base. I puree mine to give more body, flavor and nutrition and a more decadent feel. Chefs all over the world have been refining the traditional Bouillabaisse to find that perfect balance of taste, body and elegance.

Fish and Seafood:

Traditionally Bouillabaisse uses three different types of fish, either whole small fish or chopped into chunks. We like to add a variety of seafood depending on what’s available from our amazing local fish and seafood supplier.

For this recipe we have added:

  • Fresh fish fillets
  • Mussels
  • Prawn tails (leftover from base ingredients)
  • Clams.

You can also use other seafood like octopus, crabs, squid, cuttlefish or different shellfish like razor clams, diamond clams, tua tua. Other varieties of fish like john dory, red mullet, red snapper, hake, grouper, halibut and haddock work well. This French fish stew recipe is flexible and really depends on what’s available and sustainable in your region. So get to know your local fish monger or supplier and chat with them about what’s available to you.

How to make a bouillabaisse

There are 3 simple steps to this recipe:

  • Prep your ingredients and create the soup base. Cooking off all those amazing ingredients and simmering in the wine and stock to develop that incredible base flavour.
  • Cooling slightly then blending the base, like we mentioned before, to create a rich and decedent base. Full of flavour and nutritional ingredients! If you are making ahead you can store the base sealed in the fridge, until ready to cook the fish and seafood.

  • Heat your blended soup base and add the fish and seafood, cooking them to perfection. It really is that simple!

Ready to cook up this amazing French fish soup with seafood? We have made ourselves hungry again, just explaining this dish to you! We would love to you what fish and seafood you use!

Bon Appetite!

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Happy cooking!

Recipe details
  • 5  people
  • Prep time: 40 Minutes Cook time: 50 Minutes Total time: 1 hr 30 min
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Bouillabaisse Soup Base
  • 50 ml Olive oil
  • 10 ea Whole prawns peeled, deveined, keep the heads and shells
  • 1 medium Onion fine sliced
  • 1 Fennel bulb fine sliced, keep the fronds
  • 1 Leek white part only, fine sliced
  • 6 cloves Garlic chopped
  • 2 ea Bay leaves
  • 1 bunch Parsley rough chopped leaves, stalks kept whole
  • 1/2 tsp Dried thyme
  • 1 ea Red chilli Seeds removed, chopped
  • 2 strips Orange peel
  • 2 ea Star anise
  • 1 pinch Saffron
  • 2 tbsp Tomato puree
  • 2 ea Ripe tomatoes
  • 100 ml White wine
  • 2 ltr Chicken stock
Fish and seafood (see note 1)
  • 300 g Fresh fish fillets cut into chunks
  • 15 ea Fresh mussels cleaned, debearded
  • 10 ea Prawn tails From soup base recipe
  • 24 ea Clams purged in fresh water
Garlic Saffron Rouille (Optional)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 pinch Saffron
  • 1 Red chilli
  • 150 ml Olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
Serve with
  • 1 French stick or any fresh crusty bread
Preparing the soup base:
Prep the base ingredients.
Grab a large pot and put on a medium heat. Add the oil allow to warm a little then add the prawn shells. Cook the shells until well browned then add the sliced onion, fennel, leek and garlic, cook until softened but not brown.
Add the bay leaves, thyme, red chilli, orange peel, star anise, saffron, parsley stalks, continue to cook for a couple of minutes.
Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and fry in with the vegetable base for a couple of minutes and add the white wine.
Allow the wine to reduce away then add the chicken stock.
Bring your soup base up to a boil then reduce to a simmer, for 35 minutes until all the vegetables are nice and soft. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.
Preparing your Rouille
While your soup is simmering away its a good time to make your rouille. Grab your bench top blended, add the egg, egg yolk, mustard, chilli, garlic, saffron, pinch of salt and lemon juice, place on the lid and turn on to start blending. Slowly add the olive oil at a drizzle speed through the hole in the lid, your rouille should start to thicken as you add the oil. You want to create a mayonnaise consistency. Place in a sealed jar in the fridge, until ready to serve.
Blend the soup base and cook the fish and seafood:
Using a good bench top blender ladle your base a bit at a time and give it a good blend until smooth, repeat the process until all the soup is blended. (See note 2) Place into a large clean pot.
Heat the blended soup base and add the seafood, start with your fish and prawns then add your shell fish on top of this, simmer for around 5 minutes until the shells have popped open and the fish and prawns are cooked.
Taste and season if needed. Add the chopped parsley and serve with the rouille and crusty bread.Enjoy!
  • Note 1 – Substitute the fish and seafood with what’s available and sustainable in your region. You can use Seafood like octopus, crabs, squid, cuttlefish or different shellfish like razor clams, diamond clams, tua tua. Other varieties of fish like john dory, red mullet, red snapper, hake, grouper, halibut and haddock will work well.
  • Note 2 – If preparing ahead, store blended soup base sealed in the fridge, until ready to cook the fish and seafood and serve.
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  • Joan Joan on Jul 05, 2022

    Do you strain the soup base or do you grind the prawn shells in the soup?

  • Cori Cori on Jul 05, 2022

    Red Chili? Is this like a bell pepper ? Is it for heat or chili flavor?