2019-04-27 0 By alain

The original bouillabaisse (bouï abaisso in Provençal, meaning boil and press “bout et abaisse“) was from the Calanque coast between Marseille and Toulon , although it is said to be invented at Saint-Raphaël. Although called a soup, this is really a main dish, a full meal in itself.

Bouillabaisse was based on local fish, usually those unsold at the daily market, with other local shellfish added. Bouillabaisse was a “fisherman’s” dish, and never contained any expensive ingredients such as lobster, although the common small green crabs were often used.

Bouillabaisse has many regional variations based on the different local fish, and the color can change from place to place because of the types of fish used.



4 lbs red mullet (rouget)
1 conger eel, in 4 slices
10 small crabs

3 lbs red scorpion fish (rascasse)
3 lbs monkfish (baudroie)
3 lbs red gurnard (grondin rouge)
3 lbs John Dory (Saint-Pierre)

2 lbs tomatoes, cut in 4
4 onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, mashed
2 tb tomato concentrate

Olive oil
Bouquet of herbs: dill (2 sprigs); laurel (1 leaf); parsley (1 sprig) orange peel (1)
Salt, fresh pepper
2 tsp saffron

Step 1: In a large stew pan, heat the onions with olive oil and garlic at slow pace

Step 2: Add tomatoes and tomato concentrate, raise heat to moderate

Step 3: Add 3 liters (3.15 quarts) of water, bouquet of herbs, orange peel, and cleaned fish (red mullet, conger eels, any other small fish and small crabs) in the stew pan. Add salt and pepper. Cook uncovered at moderate heat for 20 to 25 minutes

Step 4: Remove the bouquet of herbs and the orange peel. Taste and if needed add more seasoning

Step 5: Put the John Dory and the monkfish. Add saffron. If needed add water to make sure that fish are covered.

Step 6: Boil for 10 minutes. Add red gurnard and scorpion fish. Boil again for 6 minutes.

Serving: Remove the large fish and put them on a serving platter. Correct seasoning. Prepare slices of bread. Pour in the Bouillabaisse over the bread. Traditionally Bouillabaisse is served with Rouille, a type of mayonnaise made with garlic and olive oil