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Chef Luc’s Marseille Bouillabaisse Recipe

  • Author: Carol Green


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.



Fish Stock:

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

6          Peppercorns

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

To Complete:

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.