Julia Child's Bouillabaisse

Julia Child (prepared by Michael Symon)
Servings: 6
1 to 2 hr

A filling fish dish!

  • Ingredients
  • step-by-step directions
Julia Child's Bouillabaisse
  • For the Fish Soup Base:
  • 3/4 cup minced leek
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic (mashed)
  • 1 pound tomatoes (roughly chopped)
  • 2 1/2 quart water
  • 6 parsley sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme or basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon fennel
  • 2 big pinches of saffron
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried orange peel
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3-4 pounds lean fish (fish heads/bones/trimings/shellfish remains or frozen fish from the list or 1 quart clam juice/1 1/2 quarts of water/no salt)
For the Bouillabaisse:
  • 1 halibut steak
  • 1 large fillet of red snapper (cut into pieces)
  • 3 large scallops (sliced in half)
  • 12 mussels
  • 12 clams
  • rounds of hart-toasted French bread
  • 1/3 Cup fresh parsley (roughly chopped)
For the Rouille:
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper (simmered for several minutes in salted water and drained) or canned pimiento
  • 1 small chili pepper (boiled until tender) or drops of Tabasco sauce
  • 1 medium potato (cooked in the soup)
  • 4 cloves mashed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 4-6 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons hot soup
  • For the Fish Soup Base: Cook the onions and leeks slowly in olive oil for 5 minutes or until almost tender. Stir in the garlic and tomatoes. Raise heat to moderate and cook 5 minutes more.
  • Add the water, herbs, seasonings and fish to the kettle and cook uncovered at a moderate boil for 30 to 40 minutes. Strain, pressing juice out of ingredients. Taste carefully for seasoning and strength. It should be delicious at this point, so it will need no further fussing with later. You should have about 2 1/2 quarts in a high, rather narrow kettle.
  • For the Bouillabaisse: Bring the soup to a rapid boil 20 minutes before serving. Add the firm-fleshed fish, the halibut. Bring quickly back to the boil and boil rapidly for 5 minutes. Add the tender-fleshed fish, the clams, mussels, and scallops. Bring rapidly to the boil again and boil 5 minutes more to until the fish are just tender when pierced with a fork. Do not overcook.
  • Immediately lift out the fish and arrange on the platter. Correct seasoning, and pour the soup into the tureen over rounds of French bread. Spoon a ladelful of soup over the fish, and sprinkle parsley over both fish and soup. Serve immediately accompanied by the optional rouille. 
  • For the Rouille: Pound all ingredients in a bowl or mortar for several minutes to form a very smooth, sticky paste.
  • Drop by drop, pound or beat in the olive oil as for making a mayonnaise. Season to taste.
  • Just before serving, beat in the hot soup by dribblets. Pour in a sauce boat.
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