2 envelopes Seabags instant fish stock
3 cups cold water
1 cup dry white table wine
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1/2 cup olive oil, best quality available
1 large onion, red, white or yellow, thinly sliced into rounds or half moons
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced or in julienne
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced or in julienne
2–4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup parsley, curly or flat, chopped
4–6 sprigs fresh thyme, or pinch dried
2 tablespoons fresh fennel leaves or tarragon, chopped, or 1/4 teaspoon
fennel seeds, ground or crushed, or 1 ounce Pernod or Ricard liqueur
1 large fresh tomato, peeled and diced, or 1 cup canned
black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon or to taste
peel of a medium orange (no pith), in one piece if you can manage it
1 small potato, peeled and thinly sliced
1 lobster, 1 1/8–1 1/4 pounds (Ask counterperson to split lobster as for
broiling, crack the claws, and removed the sand bag [stomach] behind
head. Be sure to keep the green liver and orange roe, which are a great
1 dozen New Zealand green-lipped mussels, frozen
1/2 pound tuna or other firm fish, cut in 1” chunks
1/2 pound fillet of whiting, flounder, or other white, flaky species
8 slices of day old French- or Italian-style bread
salt to taste (optional)
sauce rouille (see recipe below)
Prepare the Seabags fish stock with the 3 cups of water and the 1 cup of wine. Add the saffron threads, cover, and set aside to steep.
Warm the oil in a large pot over a medium flame. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, parsley, thyme, the tarragon, fennel or fennel seeds (If using the liqueur, you may add it now, or for dramatic effect, flambé it at the table), tomato, black pepper, and orange peel. Cover the pot and sweat the vegetables slowly until softened, but not brown.
Add the prepared fish stock to the pot, turn up the heat, and bring to a boil. Add the lobster, return to a boil, and add the mussels, potatoes, and tuna. When the pot comes back to a boil, add the whiting or flounder, cover the pot, and turn off the flame.
There are 2 ways of serving bouillabaisse: you can strain the broth and serve it as a first course, followed by the fish and shellfish; or you can serve the broth, fish and shellfish together, either in a large tureen, or straight from the pot. In the first case, you will pour the strained broth over the bread. In the second, you will line the tureen with bread before you add the broth, fish and shellfish. If you serve the bouillabaisse from the pot, it is easiest to place the bread in each diner’s bowl. Pass sauce rouille at the table.
A rosé from Provence, such as a Bandol, is the ideal accompaniment. Lirac and Taval, excellent rosés from the Rhone Valley, are a superb match as well. Muscadet, too, is always congenial with fish and shellfish.
The ingredients of rouille are white breadcrumbs, puréed garlic, olive oil, and hot red peppers, fresh or dried. These are mixed together in such proportions as the cook sees fit, with the flavor and bite of the garlic and hot peppers predominating. Salt may be added to taste.