Fancy Bouillabaisse is full of shrimp, lobster, crab and all the good things that make a great romantic meal! Ready in less than 45 minutes is just a bonus!
Fancy Bouillabaisse is the name of the recipe for basically shellfish soup. It gets its “fancy” addition because instead of basic fish I’ve added crab, lobster in addition to the very economical mussels, shrimp and clams. The nice think about this recipe is that its so versatile! You can substitute any fish or shellfish that the local store has on special.
With Valentines day coming up and the fact its been a little hectic I knew this recipe would be perfect. It looks impressive, (translation, people are oohing and aaahing over all the beautiful and delicious lobster and crab but at the same time it doesn’t take hours and hours in the kitchen making it.
The secret to the broth is using fennel and saffron in the mix. Both of those add a unique flavor and the saffron adds a beautiful color the works really well with the colors of the fish.
Fennel is one of the foods I find that people either love or hate. It kind of has a licorice flavor when its raw but when its cooked it just adds a nice depth of flavor and when pureed in this recipe provides a nice basis for the slightly thickened broth. The Pernod also ads to the flavor when you are using it to deglaze the pan.
Points of Interest of the Fancy Bouillabaisse:
Easy/Hard: The hardest part of this is cleaning the fish you use. The rest is super easy. Because you puree the veggies after cooking them you can roughly chop all of them which makes prep super quick.
Make Ahead: You can make the broth up to 3 days ahead, and even clean the fish and have them ready to just drop in the broth to cook early in the day. It makes it a great recipe for entertaining because you can just do the cooking of the fish at the last minute.
Serve With: This goes great with a nice garlic bread and a garlic aioli spread. You use the bread to sop up all of the broth once you’ve finished the shellfish.
Pairs with: a crisp white wine such as Riesling or a pinot gris. It also goes nicely with a sparkling wine, and on occasion Ive found a light rose that pairs well.
Fresh shellfish in a very flavorful broth you can have on the table in less than 45 minutes
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 leek , chopped thinly white and light green parts only
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 whole fennel bulb—bulb only, diced fronds reserved
- 4 cloves garlic. minced
- 1/2 cup carrots, diced
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- 2 whole bay leaves
- Pinch of saffron threads
- 2 tablespoons Pernod
- 5 cups fish stock or water
- 3 5 oz lobster tails, cut in half lengthwise
- 1 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes. tiny bite sized ones peeled
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 dozen littleneck clams scrubbed
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 pound mussels, rinsed and beards removed
- 1 pound crab legs, cut into small 4-6" sections
Into a stock pot, add olive oil and heat to medium high. Once hot, add leeks, onions, garlic, fennel and carrots. Saute until onions and fennel are translucent.
Add tomatoes and saffron and stir for 5 minutes. Then add Pernod to deglaze the pan. (Scrape up bits from bottom of pan.) This will happen very quickly.
Add stock(or water) bay leaves and potatoes to pot. Bring pot to simmer. Continue to cook until small potatoes and carrots are cooked and tender. Remove from heat.
While the pot of veggies/broth is simmering, clean all shell fish and have on a plate ready to cook once broth is pureed.
Remove 1/2 of the potatoes and set aside. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup taking care blend all ingredients to smooth. Season with salt (especially if you used water versus fish stock.)
Put stock post of pureed broth back onto burner and heat to hot and bubbling temperature. Add potatoes back into pot. Once broth is hot, add clams first, and cook for 3-5 minutes. Then add mussels and cook for 3 more minutes. Then add lobster tails and cook for 3 more minutes. At this time add shrimp and crab and cook until shrimp is completely opaque.
Place a little of each kind of shellfish in each serving bowl then ladle broth over the top and serve. (optional: Use leftover fennel fronds by mincing them and sprinkle over the top as garnish!)
You can make this broth ahead and then just reheat to hot and cook the shellfish at the time you wish to serve it. The broth can be made up to 3 days ahead.
This recipe's calorie information was made using the exact ingredients/brands I purchased and calculated in My Fitness Pal. Please be aware that if you make it using different ingredients or substitute different brands the information will vary and plan accordingly if you are following strict dietary information.