Total Time
1 hr 18 min
20 min
58 min
Every bustling Mediterranean seaport has a favorite seafood soup or stew, and bouillabaisse is the world-celebrated fish soup of Provence. Made with fish, shellfish, aromatics, tomatoes, wine, and herbs, it is traditionally served with crusty French bread. A touch of orange zest and Pernod (anise-flavored liqueur) provide extra zing. If you don't have Pernod, add a pinch of ground fennel seeds to the soup while it simmers. A few potatoes make make this stew a hearty meal—though a cool side salad of tender butter lettuce leaves dressed in a classic vinaigrette would make a nice accompaniment.


Olive oil

1 Tbsp

Uncooked leeks

4 cup(s), large, cleaned and thinly sliced


4 clove(s), minced

Uncooked fennel bulb

½ medium, (white part only), chopped


2 medium, diced

Clam juice

32 fl oz

Canned diced tomatoes

14½ oz

White wine

cup(s), dry


½ fl oz, Pernod

Fresh thyme

1 Tbsp, fresh, chopped

Orange zest

2 tsp, grated


½ tsp, threads, crushed

Cayenne pepper


Uncooked red potato

6 small, cut into 1⁄2-inch chunks

Uncooked halibut fillet

1 pound(s), cut into 1-inch pieces

Uncooked shrimp

½ pound(s), large, peeled and deveined

Uncooked mussels in shells

½ pound(s), scrubbed, debearded

Uncooked scallops

¼ pound(s), or shucked oysters


  1. Heat the oil in a large nonstick Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the leek and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 7–10 minutes. Add the fennel and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2–3 minutes. Add the clam juice, tomatoes, wine, Pernod, thyme, orange zest, saffron, and cayenne; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the flavors blend, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the potatoes; return to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Add the fish fillets, shrimp, mussels, and oysters; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the fish and shrimp are just opaque in the center and the mussels open, about 5 minutes. Discard any mussels that don’t open. Yields 1 2/3 cups per serving.


After buying mussels, discard those with broken shells or shells that do not close tightly when gently tapped. Since mussels can be sandy, soak them in a bowl of cold water for 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat, using fresh water, until there is no more sand in the bowl. Then scrub them with a stiff brush under cold running water. The hairy filaments that protrude from a mussel are known as a beard. To remove, pinch the filaments between thumb and forefinger and pull firmly.