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4.95 from 18 votes
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: Special Occasion Meal
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins

Fresh shellfish in a very flavorful broth you can have on the table in less than 45 minutes

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Continental, Mediterranean
Keyword: fish soup recipe, shellfish recipe
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 360 kcal
Author: Michele Hall
  • 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
  • 1 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes. tiny bite sized ones peeled
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 5 oz lobster tails, cut in half lengthwise
  • 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
  • 1 loaf Sourdough bread sliced.
  1. 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.  

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. While the pot of veggies/broth is simmering, clean all shell fish and have on a plate ready to cook once broth is pureed.

  5. Remove 1/2 of the potatoes and set aside.  Remove Bay leaves and discard.  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.)

  6. 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.  At this time add shrimp, lobster and crab and cook until shrimp and lobster halves are completely opaque.


  7. 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!) 

  8. Serve with thick bread to use to sop up last of broth. 

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

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.