Bouillabaisse with a Red Pepper Rouille

Bouillabaise with a Red Pepper Rouille by Meeta K. Wolff

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Serves: approx. 6


For the Bouillabaisse

  • 2 fennel
  • 60 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 parsnips, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 leeks, white part only, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1.75 liters fish stock
  • 1kg ripe tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 60ml Pernod
  • 800g Victoria Sea Bass, filleted, cut into cubes
  • 800g Pangasius, filleted, cut into cubes
  • 500g prawns, peeled and cleaned
  • 500g black mussels, scrubbed, bearded
  • Salt and freshly crushed pepper

For the Red Pepper Rouille

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
  • 250g roasted red bell pepper from a jar, diced
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 250g mayonnaise


  1. Trim the tops of the fennel, reserving trimmings for stock and fronds for serving, and chop fennel finely. Heat oil into a large saucepan over medium heat. Add fennel, onion, parsnip, garlic, leeks and fennel seeds, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until vegetables soften.
  2. Combine saffron and 125ml warm fish stock in a small bowl and allow to steep for 10 minutes.
  3. Quarter the tomatoes, removing and discarding seeds, then chop finely. Add tomato paste to vegetables in the pan and cook for 1 minute. Add the saffron mixture, tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme and the remaining stock to the pan and simmer for 30 minutes. Season generously with salt. Stir in cayenne and Pernod.
  4. Add the fish to the pan, then prawns, making sure the seafood is submerged in the liquid. Boil for 5 minutes or until seafood is just cooked.
  5. In the meantime place the mussels with 2 tablespoons water in a frying pan over high heat. Cover with a lid and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, for 3 minutes or until the shells open.
  6. Divide the bouillabaisse into bowls. Top with mussels and scatter with reserved fennel fronds. Serve with rustic French baguette and rouille (recipe below).
  7. To make the rouille, finely chop garlic cloves with cayenne pepper and saffron in a food processor. Pour the vinegar into processor and blend until almost smooth. Blend in mayonnaise scrap into a bowl then stir in the diced red pepper. Season the rouille to taste with salt and pepper.

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