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Stefano’s Bouillabaisse

By In the Kitchen with Stefano Faita 

This classic French seafood dish is a cross between a soup and a stew. It’s hearty, rich and a quick and easy main for entertaining.



– 8 to 12 mussels
– 8 to 12 little neck clams
– 3/4 pound halibut, snapper or sole fillets
– 8 large sea scallops
– 8 large shrimp, peeled, deveined and tail left on
– 3 tbsp. olive oil
– 2 shallots, sliced
– 1 leek, sliced
– 1/2 large or 1 small bulb fennel, sliced
– 2 cloves garlic, chopped
– 1/3 cup French anise flavoured liqueur or brandy
– 1 cup dry white wine
– 4 cups fish stock, clam juice or chicken stock
– 1 cup pureed tomatoes (passata)
– 3 sprigs thyme
– 2 bay leaves
– 2 pieces of orange peel
– 2 pinches saffron threads
– 1 large or 2 small Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
– 3 tbsp. chopped parsley, for finishing
– 1 baguette, sliced, brushed with olive oil and grilled
– Olive oil, for drizzling

Rouille (Spicy Red Pepper Sauce):

– 3/4 cup mayonnaise
– 1 garlic clove, chopped
– Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
– 2 to 3 jarred roasted red peppers
– Pinch of saffron
– 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
– 1 tbsp. olive oil (optional)
– Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
– Cayenne, to taste



Scrub mussels if needed, and remove any beards. Discard any mussels with cracked shells and that do not close when tapped.

Discard any clams with cracked shells or ones that do not close when tapped.

Cut fish into large chunks.

Pat seafood dry and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the shallot, leek, fennel and garlic and sauté until vegetables are soft, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add anise liqueur and let cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add white wine, fish stock, tomatoes, thyme, bay leaf, orange peel, saffron and potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat low and let simmer, until flavours marry and potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Add halibut, scallops and clams. Gently stir and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add shrimp and mussels. Cook, stirring occasionally, until all seafood is just cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes. Don’t overcook or seafood will be rubbery.

Taste and adjust seasoning. Finish with chopped parsley. Serve with grilled baguette slices and Rouille.

Rouille (Spicy Red Pepper Sauce):

Add mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice, roasted red peppers, saffron, Dijon, olive oil, salt and pepper, and cayenne to small food processor. Pulse until smooth. Taste and adjust for seasoning.

Yield: 4 servings

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