Bouillabaisse {Dinner with friends}


One of my favorite activities is cooking for—and eating dinner with—friends.
And one of the biggest compliments is when the friends gobble up the food.

There were no leftovers and so the bouillabaisse was a success.

I made the broth with salmon bones the fishmonger gave me, shallots, fennel, white wine, garlic, saffron and orange zest.

I grilled an enormous loaf of bread that I picked up from Whole Foods and made the rouille with a large red pepper I roasted, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, bread crumbs and olive oil. (This might have been the best part of the whole meal.)

Here’s to dinner with lovely friends, and a fragrant stew to make for your next dinner party.


To make your own fish broth or not
I highly recommend making your own broth. It might seem daunting but I can attest that it isn’t. To make things easier for the night you’re going to serve the bouillabaisse, make the broth the night before.That’s what I did and it saves so much time. I was at Whole Foods and asked the fishmonger if he had any bones to use: and he wrapped up some salmon bones for me right away, and it only cost $1.46. for wine, don’t use a “cooking” wine; use something you’d drink as well. You only need two cups for the broth so you can enjoy a glass while you cook, which is what I did. : )

Beautiful linens
I love setting my table with a runner and my go-to shop for unique runners is Saffron Marigold. They also sell gorgeous cloth napkins.

To drink
I made a batch of sangria by adding 1 cup of grapefruit juice to one bottle of wine, the juice of two limes and 1/4 cup of sugar. Let it sit overnight and—voila—a deep ruby red drink to serve with the bouillabaisse. Add some chopped apples and other fruit. You could also serve a bottle of white, perhaps this Otto Muri from Collazzi.

For dessert you may like this flourless chocolate cake.


Serves 6
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Allergy Fish, Shellfish
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Main Dish, Soup
Region French
Enjoy this seafood stew with a glass of wine and grilled bread with rouille.


  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1 cup of shallots (chopped)
  • 1 cup of leeks (chopped)
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 5 plum tomatoes (chopped)
  • 2 cups of white wine
  • 6 cups of water
  • the fronds of 1 fennel bulb
  • 1/4 cup of fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon of saffron
  • the zest of half an orange
  • 3 pounds of fish bones
  • 6 pounds of fish and shellfish (I used halibut, clams, shrimp, mussels and scallops, but you can use whatever you like.)


Note: The broth can be made ahead to serve the next day.

In a large pot, such as a Dutch oven (I use the Le Creuset oven), heat olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the shallots and keels for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes, white wine, water, fennel, fronds, parsley, saffron and fish bones. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 25-35 minutes. At this point, if you are making the broth ahead of time, you can refrigerate the broth once it cools. Or if serving now, strain and return broth to the pot and bring to a boil. Add the shrimp and fish. Then add the shellfish and cook for about five minutes or until the clams and mussels open. Discard any unopened ones. Serve with grilled bread with rouille.

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