Bouillabaisse with rouille

Bouillabaisse with rouille

Total Time
2 hr 10 min
40 min
1 hr 30 min
Rouille is a garlicky red pepper puree, traditionally spread on baguette slices and served on the side of this deeply flavorful seafood stew. Instead of discarding shrimp shells, think of them as flavor bombs. We cook them into the soup base where they add a lot of flavor. However, if you’d like to cut down on prep time, you can skip making the shrimp stock, and just purchase 1 quart of a good seafood stock instead. To get a head start, you can prepare everything through step 5 one day ahead, then reheat and add the fish just before serving.


Cooking spray

4 spray(s)

French bread

10 oz, divided

Roasted red peppers (packed in water)

½ cup(s), chopped


4 clove(s), minced and divided

Kosher salt

¾ tsp, divided

Cayenne pepper

¼ tsp

Extra virgin olive oil

4 Tbsp, divided

Uncooked shrimp

1 pound(s), large, shell-on

Uncooked leeks

2 medium

Clam juice

3 cup(s)

Fresh thyme

4 sprig(s)


¼ tsp, optional

Uncooked fennel bulb

1 cup(s), (about 1 medium) finely chopped


2 cup(s), seeded and chopped (about 2 large)

86 proof liquor (gin, rum, scotch, tequila, vodka, or whiskey)

2 Tbsp, Pernod or other anise-flavored liqueur

Bay leaf

2 leaf/leaves

Little neck clams

32 item(s), about 2 lb, scrubbed

Uncooked snapper

1 pound(s), cut into 2-in pieces

Fennel fronds

½ cup(s), optional


  1. Chop 2 oz baguette; slice remaining 8 oz into 16 slices. (Toast slices, if desired.) Store baguette slices in airtight container until serving. In blender, combine 1⁄2 cup water, chopped baguette, red peppers, 1 garlic clove, 1⁄4 tsp salt, and cayenne; blend on high speed until almost smooth, about 30 seconds. With blender running, drizzle in 2 tbsp oil; blend rouille until smooth, about 30 seconds. Scrape rouille into bowl; cover and refrigerate. Rinse blender.
  2. Peel and devein shrimp; refrigerate. Reserve shells and tails. Thinly slice white and pale-green parts of leeks; reserve dark greens.
  3. Coat large Dutch oven with nonstick spray; heat over medium- high. Add shrimp shells and tails. Cook until shells turn red, about 5 minutes. Add 3 cups water, clam juice, thyme, and dark leek greens; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Discard thyme and dark leek greens, squeezing out as much liquid as possible. Pour shrimp stock and shells into blender.
  4. Remove center piece of blender lid. Secure lid on blender; place towel on top. Blend stock on low speed for 15 seconds, then on high for 45 seconds. Using fine-mesh strainer, strain stock into large bowl.
  5. In small bowl, soften saffron (if using) with 2 cups warm water. Heat remaining 2 tbsp oil over medium in pot; swirl to coat pot. Add chopped fennel, sliced leeks, and remaining garlic; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes; cook for 5 minutes. Stir in stock, liqueur, bay leaves, remaining 1⁄2 tsp salt, and saffron water (or 2 cups water). Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Discard bay leaves.
  6. Add clams; cover. Cook for 4 minutes. Add fish; cover. Cook for 2 minutes. Stir in shrimp; cover. Cook until seafood is cooked through and clams open, about 2 minutes. (Discard unopened clams.) Top stew with fennel fronds (if using). Spread baguette slices with rouille.
  7. Serving size: about 1⅔ cups stew, 2 baguette slices, and 2 tbsp rouille