Transport yourself to the south of France with our version of traditional bouillabaisse, accompanied by aioli toast. Chill your favorite Provençal Rosé to serve alongside this dish, or, even better, select a few bottles and do a wine tasting amongst your guests.
For those of you who don't know what bouillabaisse is, it is a Provençal fish stew originating from the city of Marseille, one of the major ports of the Mediterranean Sea, situated west of the Riviera. Depending upon how spicy you prefer this dish is entirely up to you! We add a little bit of ginger to ours and then top the soup with some freshly sliced jalapeno (minus the seeds) to give it that extra kick. The traditional stew serves rouille and garlic toasts on the side. We prefer to spread aioli on our toasted baguette.
We should probably mention that our bouillabaisse is a little bit 'Americanized' since we add corn and lobster to our version of this soup (not to mention ginger and jalapeno). We also prefer cod, specifically Chatham cod, as opposed to dorade, rouget, or snapper. We prefer the richer texture of the cod and it is also difficult to overcook it.
On the same sunny afternoon that we recently decided to make this bouillabaisse, we visited our local fishmonger to select the seafood that would be used. We didn't have to go far to pick up a variety of Provençal rosés to be later paired alongside our stew. As we usually did while out to the markets, we picked up some lunch while our fish chilled on ice, and then, found ourselves stumbling into the local farmers market for fresh herbs. It was at that moment, that we spotted some gorgeous fresh peaches, that the idea to poach that very fruit in one of those bottles of recently purchased rosé was born.
This dessert was incredibly refreshing on this particularly hot, summer day. I find it ironic that bouillabaisse is served during the hot summers in the south of France when it is sweltering hot. It is no wonder, then, that the French wash it down with cold bottles or carafes of rosé. Our poached peaches were not only swimming in this rosé, but we topped them with a rosé granité.
Serves 6 people
2 lbs. of Chatham Cod
2 Lobsters (1 ½ lb. each)
One lb. of Mussels
One lb. of Little Neck Clams
One lb. of Shrimp
Two White Onions (chopped)
Three branches of Celery (sliced)
Two peeled Carrots (sliced)
One large Fennel Head (chopped)
One Leek (chopped)
One Tbsp. of grated Ginger
Fresh Jalapeno (deseeded, optional)
One lb. of Idaho Potatoes (peeled and quartered)
Six Plum Tomatoes
Three pieces of Corn (cut into pieces)
1/4 tsp. Cayenne
¼ tsp. Paprika
2 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
For the sachet:
6 sprigs of Thyme
½ a head of Garlic
2 tsp. Coriander Seed
2 tsp. Fennel Seeds
2 Star Anise
2 Bay Leafs
½ gallon of Fish Stock
¼ Cup of Pastis (or Pernod Ricard)
For the Aioli:
One Egg Yolk
1 tsp. of pureed Garlic
1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
1 C of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 pinch of Salt
1 pinch of Pepper
1 pinch of Paprika
½ a pinch of Cayenne
1. Preparing the seafood.
- You can request that your fishmonger scale, cut, and filet your fish.
- You can ask your fishmonger to also deshell your lobster. *If they have raw lobster heads, request two.
- At home, cut the filet into six equal pieces and put aside in the refrigerator.
- Scrub, debeard, and rinse the mussels.
- Shell and devein the shrimp. Again, rinse and reserve the shells for the broth.
2. Prepare the bouillabaisse.
- Place your large Staub (or stockpot) on the range over medium heat.
- Add a ¼ Cup of olive oil to the pan.
- Once the oil is heated, add the chopped onion, leeks, celery, carrots, fennel, saffron, ginger, cayenne pepper, paprika, salt, and pepper.
- Sautee the above for five minutes.
- Now add the Pastis and allow it to reduce, completely.
- Add the tomato paste and stir occasionally for another five minutes.
- Now add the fish stock, the spice sachet, and the two lobster heads, if you have them (*optional).
- Simmer for about forty-five minutes, skimming the top as needed.
- Remove the lobster heads and the sachet and discard both.
- Working in small batches, transfer the liquid into a blender and puree until smooth.
- Then, strain all the liquid through a mesh sieve, returning back to the Staub (or stockpot) to keep warm.
3. Prepare the potatoes.
- Bring 3 quarts of salted water with a splash of turmeric to a boil.
- Add the quartered potatoes and cook until tender, about ten minutes.
- Remove the potatoes, or strain from the water, and set aside.
4. Finish the bouillabaisse.
- Now that the liquid is back in the pot, bring the soup (our liquid is now soup since we have passed it) back to a low simmer.
- Add the cooked potatoes to the soup.
- Take the fish portions out of the fridge, season them with salt and pepper, and add them to the soup.
- Add the mussels, littleneck clams, and corn to the soup.
- Cover the pot, and, while maintaining a low setting, cook for five minutes.
- Now, add the lobster and allow all to cook another five minutes.
- Check the pot. Your fish should be firm, and your mussels and clams opened.
- Taste for seasoning. Add salt, pepper, cayenne, and paprika, as needed.
- Slice and deseed a fresh jalapeno to use as an optional garnish.
5. Prepare the aioli.
- Combine the egg yolk, mustard, olive oil, and pureed garlic with a whisk.
- Add the salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne.
- Now, add the olive oil, one tablespoon at a time, to keep it emulsified.
6. Prepare the toast.
- Slice thin pieces of baguette and toast them until crisp.
- Spread even amounts of aioli on the top.
7. Plate the bouillabaisse.
- Serve the soup in shallow bowls.
- Be sure to have even amounts of potato, corn, mussels, clams, lobster, and cod.
- Accompany with aioli toast.
We suggest pairing your bouillabaisse with a cold glass of Provençal Rosé.
Pêches pochées au rosé de Provence
One bottle of Provencal rosé
4 C of Water
1 C of granulated Sugar
1 Vanilla pod
(or 1 tsp. of Vanilla extract)
4 Cardamon seeds
1 Tbsp. of Lavender buds (optional)
Fresh Mint (optional)
One deep saucepan
1. Poach the Peaches
- Wash and place the whole peaches (skin on) in a deep saucepan. (We did ours in a Staub, as our quantity was much larger).
- Pour the wine over the peaches.
- Add water until the peaches are completely submerged.
- Cut the vanilla pod in half and remove the vanilla seeds.
- Place both the vanilla pods and the seeds in the liquid.
- Add the cardamom and then the sugar.
- Turn the stove on low heat.
- Cut out a piece of parchment paper into a circle the same size as the top of the pot. Place it over the pot to prevent the peaches from floating above the liquid.
- Once the liquid simmers, allow it to cook for twenty minutes.
- Turn off the stove and let the peaches sit in the warm syrup for two hours.
- Two hours later, take the peaches out of the liquid and store in the fridge.
- Place the liquid in a bowl, cover, and place in the fridge.
- When chilled, remove the spices.
2. Making the Granité.
- Place half the liquid in a pan in the freezer.
- When it barely starts to crystalize on top, use a fork to break up the ice. Repeat four times until you have a granite.
- Keep the granite in the freezer.
3. Plating the Peaches
- Ensure the peaches are fully chilled.
- Peel the peaches.
- Cut the peaches into quarter pieces.
- Place the segments into a dessert bowl.
- Add syrup to the bowl.
- Top with granite.
- Garnish with lavender buds and fresh mint (optional).
The bowls used to plate both the bouillabaisse and the rosé poached peaches are fine porcelain made in Limoges, France, by Aurelie Pergay. For more information on the family-owned business, visit our link at https://www.backcountrymercantile.com/porceline.
The Staub cookware can be purchased at a variety of merchants including Sur La Table, Crate and Barrel, and the Zwilling shop. https://www.zwilling.com/us/staub/ We used a 7-quart oval cocotte in the color grenadine.
The lavender buds used in the poached peaches can be purchased on Amazon at or at Terrain. https://www.amazon.com/DriedDecor-com-French-Lavender-Dried-Buds/dp/B005LFQ5QW