While at culinary school in Lyon, France, I had the good fortune to learn from Chef Luc, who hailed from Marseille in the South of France, the home of Bouillabaisse, the quintessential coastal French seafood soup.
I have such fond memories of my time at the culinary school, the Ecole de Arts Culinaires, I learned the essentials of what French cooking is all about, great ingredients, and effective techniques.
This week I hosted a live, interactive cooking class, with a trip down memory lane paying homage to my time in the South of France. We began with a classic Provencal ‘Salade de Chevre Chaud’, a warm goat’s cheese salad, followed by the star of the show, the Bouillabaisse of course!
Bouillabaisse, origins of the Traditional French Seafood Soup
A decadent seafood soup, the tricky word bouillabaisse consists of the two verbs bolhir (to boil) and abaissar (to reduce heat, simmer).
Bouillabaisse was originally a fisherman’s stew, using all the bony rockfish the fisherman could not sell on the market, they would come together and make a large collective pot of simmering seafood.
The traditional Bouillabase recipe included at least three types of fish, with various types of seafood that may have been on hand added such as sea urchins, mussels or octopus.
The dish has certainly evolved to high end cuisine, with the addition of expensive seafood and spices, such as langoustine and saffron. The fish soup is traditionally served with a crusty bread and thickened with rouille, a type f mayonnaise.
Chef Luc’s Bouillabase Recipe
I well recall the shipments of seafood that would arrive at school smacking of the sea, the fish complete with scales, the octopus and lobsters whole.
Not only did we learn to clean and take apart the fish, we used the frames to make a fish and vegetable broth ‘fumet’ as the essential base for the soup. The next step is elevating the fish fumet to a light tomato soup base, scented with orange and pastis, the licorice flavored liqueur.
The final step is adding your selection of seafood, we layered chunks of mussels, clams, scallops and shrimp to create a decadent marvel!
Chef Luc’s Bouillabase recipe is a time-consuming labor of love, although this version still requires some work, it is a do-able version that is not shy on flavor.
The Saltwater Market, Home of the Finest Seafood!
I partnered with The Saltwater Market, Clover, SC for the freshest, finest seafood for my bouillabaisse, and so can you! The Saltwater Market ship seafood anywhere in the continental USA, click here to order your seafood box to make this fabulous recipe.
The ‘cherry on top’ (literally) was a classic French Cherry Clafoutis, the spectacular summer fruit nestled in a custardy base served with Crème fraîche.
Clean Crafted French Wine Pairing
What’s a great meal without great wine?! I like my wine to be as healthy as my food, and I was mortified to recently learn about the pesticides, dyes, flavorants and animal by products that could be present in regular wine!
Which is why I have partnered with Scout and Cellar for clean-crafted wine pairings to go with the menu, you can read all about the clean-crafted difference here.
For this menu I selected a delightful French Rosé , with crisp, fruity notes, and an aromatic citrusy Sémillon, both of which pair beautifully with seafood.
Live Cooking Classes
We had so much fun in this live, interactive cooking class! I will be adding more classes to the schedule, so be sure to keep an eye on the newsletter or my Facebook page for updates.
While at cooking school in Lyon, France, I had the good fortune to learn from Chef Luc, who hailed from Marseille, the home of Bouillabaisse.
His recipe is a time-consuming labor of love, although this recipe still requires some work, it is s simpler version but not shy on flavor. The stock can be prepared in larger portions and frozen, as can the soup, with the fish added at service.
Bones, head and tail of one or two small or one large non oily fish such as snapper or grouper.
1/2 Fennel Bulb, rough chopped
1 Yellow Onion, rough chopped
2 Carrots, peeled and rough chopped
2 Celery stalks, rough chopped
1 head Garlic, halved
2 sprigs Oregano
1 Bay leaf
1/3 bottle Dry White Wine
1 Gallon water, or enough to cover fish and ingredients.
1 small Yellow Onion, diced
2 cloves Garlic, smashed
1 cup Leeks, light green and white parts, chopped
1 Orange, juiced plus 1 teaspoon zest
1 tablespoon Pastis or Pernod, optional (Sambuca is a good substitute)
6 Saffron threads
1 Bay leaf, crumbled
1 tsp. Chili Flakes
3 quarts Fish Stock
2 cups Strained Tomatoes (POMI or other brand)
2 cups Potatoes, peeled and diced (Russet or Yukon)
Salt, to taste
Olive Oil, for cooking
1 to 1.5 pounds fish fillets such as snapper, grouper, whiting, flounder, cut into large chunks
2 to 3 pounds assorted shellfish such as Mussels, Clams, Scallops, Shrimp, cleaned and tail off.
2 tablespoons chopped Parsley
- Place all ingredients in a stockpot and bring to a gentle simmer. Allow to cook for two hours. Cool, strain and discard solids.
- Heat a large sauté pan, add a little olive oil and slow caramelize the onions, adding touches of water to the pan if they stick.
- Add the garlic and leeks, cook until softened.
- Deglaze the pan with the Pernod or Pastis, if using
- Add the seasonings, all liquids ingredients, and the potatoes.
- Bring to a gentle simmer, cook for 20 to 30 minutes until the potatoes are softened.
- Bring the soup to a gentle simmer and add fish and shellfish, cook with lid on until fish is just cooked through 8 to 10 minutes.
- Serve in deep bowl, garnish with parsley and rouille (optional)
- Serve with a crusty bread
*NOTE: You may double the recipe to yield extra, freeze immediately in Mason Jars and use to steam mussels, and a s a base for recipes such as a fish chowder.
Bouillabaisse is typically served garnished with a mayonnaise-y sauce made with breadcrumbs. Personally, I don’t care for the texture, and prefer a version of my Mason Jar Mayonnaise
1 Organic egg, room temperature
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, roasted, peeled and seeded
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup Olive Oil
1 pinch Saffron Threads
Salt, to taste
- Equipment needed; pint size Mason jar, stick blender
- Place all the ingredients in the Mason jar
- Place the stick blender in the Mason jar, resting on the bottom, and begin blending, keeping it on the bottom until the mayonnaise begins to creep up the sides.
- Lift the blender slightly to blend through.
Taste for seasoning. Store in fridge till needed
* Note: This recipe contains raw egg yolk, dip the egg in boiling water before opening as salmonella contamination is usually on the shell. Know your source of eggs and proceed at your own discretion.
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