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French Bouillabaisse with Orange and Fennel

An alternative to creamy seafood chowders, this brothy stew is packed with flavour and perfect for cold winter nights. The rouille can be made ahead. Fish stock is easy and inexpensive to make. I save lobster shells to make a big batch and then freeze it, making this meal deceptively easy to whip up.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine French
Servings 4 people



  • 3 tbsp olive oil divided
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 large leek white and green parts sliced into half moons
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups fish stock
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1/2 bulb fennel and fronds bulbs
  • 1.5 tbsp fresh dill or parsley roughly chopped
  • 2 inch strip of orange peel
  • 1/2 tsp saffron
  • sea salt
  • 1/2 lb raw shrimp peeled
  • 1/2 lb salmon
  • 1/2 lb haddock or other white fish
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 lb scallops
  • Crusty bread Sliced into 1/2 inch slices


  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tbsp almonds
  • 2 tbsp fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil extra virgin



  • Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  • Add the onion and leek and cook until softened and translucent but not brown.
  • Add garlic and cook for a minute and then add fennel, fennel fronds, tomatoes, orange peel, saffron, thyme, and fish stock. Heat over medium high heat and once it begins to boil reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add the salmon, haddock and shrimp and gently simmer until the shrimp are pink and the fish flakes easily.
  • While the fish cooks, pat the scallops dry with paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Add the butter and the remain 1 tbsp olive oil to a large frying pan over medium high heat. Once it begins to smoke, add the scallops to the pan making sure they are spaced well apart. Cook for 1.5 minutes on each side. Pressing them against the pan with a spatula will help them to get a golden crust.
  • Ladle the boullaibaisse into bowls. Arrange the seared scallops over the top and sprinkle with the fresh dill or parsley. Serve piping hot with the crusty bread and rouille.


  • To roast the red pepper - Preheat the over to 450 Fahrenheit.Cut the red pepper in half, remove the stem, seeds and membrane. Put cut side down on a baking sheet. Roast for 15 - 20 minutes until charred and collapsed. Transfer peppers to a bowl, cover with a plate and leave to steam for about 10 minutes, then peel off the skins.
  • Puree the roasted red pepper and all other ingredients except olive oil in a food processor until smooth. Slowly add the olive oil to for a paste.
  • Toast both sides of each side of the bread under the boiler for a minute until brown and crisp. Spoon a little of the rouille on top and serve with the bouillabaisse.


To make this even quicker, make the Rouille a day in advance and stored in the fridge. Take it out of the fridge an hour before serving to allow it to come to room temperature. 
Keyword Fish, Seafood, Stew