Ma boulliabaise!

Boulliabaise is -no doubt-  a complicated dish to make. But it is also -no doubt – a dish of love. You make it for people you love and for people who love you. And so the time is  worth spending   and the preparation seems effortless.

First things first.   You need to visit your fisherman, or a market featuring fresh seafood department and get the following:

1/2 lb Sockeye salmon (or a medium filet)

1/2 lb cod (or a small filet)

1/2 lb shrimp (raw)

1/4 lb calamari

1 lb oysters in the shell ( unfortunately I only found very large oysters and so I bought 6 pieces)

I would also love to add some mussels in my soup but again they were sold in very large bags. So I was happy with all the  above.


Next visit your green grocer and get:

1 small white onion / 1 leek / four large ripe tomatoes or 8 plum tomatoes (pomodori ) / 1 fennel bulb / 1 orange without wax.

More ingredients you will need but perhaps you have already at home : 4 cloves of garlic/ 1 teaspoon peppercorns/1 teaspoon herbes de Provence/1/2 teaspoon saffron treads/ 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes or cayenne pepper/ 1 bay leaf/ 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil/ salt to taste / 1 cup of dry white wine

Visit your bakery and get a crusty baguette.

Now you are ready to start cooking

A. Peel and devein the shrimp.   Put the shrimp shells in a pot of water (about 6 cups) along with the peel of the orange (cut a long stripe) the bay leaf, and the peppercorns. I used a mix o white and green peppercorns.  Boil for about 20 minutes to prepare the fish stock.

B. Cut the fish and the calamari in stripes. Salt lightly the fish, the shrimp and the calamari.

C. Peel and chop the tomatoes in small pieces

D. In the mean time chop the onion, thin slice the fennel  bulb and the white part of the leek.  Slice the garlic in thin slices.  In a heavy pot ( I used a cocotte) sautee the greens and then refuse the heat to let them soften for about twenty minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the garlic and cook three more minutes.   Add the tomatoes and the wine and simmer for 5 more minutes.

E. Add the csh stock the herbes de Provence, the saffron (crush the threads in the soup) and stir well.  Simmer for additional ten minutes.  At this point taste the soup for salt and adjust.


F.  Add the fish only and cook for two minutes.  Add the oysters and cook for two more minutes. Add the shrimp and the calamari and cook two more minutes.  Remove the pot from the fire and you are ready to serve.


This recipe yields four generous servings. Serve with fresh crusty baguette.

Bon Appetit / Καλη ορεξη

The best boulliabaise I have ever tasted was in a small restaurant in Marseilles , the Astrolabe.  But Marseilles is too far and so in Baltimore we try to be creative.


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