Bouillabaisse with Rouille

Most recipes for bouillabaisse call for fish broth to be made as their first part of the recipe. If you are the type to make fish broth, you probably have a recipe for it; if not, no recipe I could include would induce you to make it. You can go to a good fish market or specialty store and purchase ready-made fish broth or substitute a mixture of two cups bottled clam juice and two cups water.

Rouille is a spicy red pepper and garlic mayonnaise-type sauce from Provence.

Serves 6.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 Spanish onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 to 2 fennel bulbs, diced
3 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 28-ounce can tomatoes, chopped, including the juice
Zest of ½ orange, cut into julienne
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 to 3 teaspoons fennel seed
2 cups diced potatoes
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups fish broth
Pinch saffron, or more to taste
4 tablespoons Pernod, anisette, or Sambuca

1 red pepper, roasted, cut into large dice
2 garlic cloves
1 slice white bread
1 tablespoon warm water
¼ cup olive oil
14 cup vegetable oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 pound lean fish, such as cod, monkfish, or halibut, cut into big chunks
2 pounds mussels, cleaned and debearded
½ pound scallops, quartered
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish
¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves, for garnish
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, for garnish

1. To make the bouillabaisse: Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and, when it is hot, add the oil. Add the onions, garlic, fennel, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until all are wilted, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, orange zest, bay leaves, thyme, fennel, and potatoes, and cook for 5 minutes. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the broths, saffron, and 2 tablespoons of the Pernod, and cook for 5 minutes. Lower the heat to low and cook until the stew has come together and reduced somewhat, about 1 hour.

2. Make the rouille, while the bouillabaisse is cooking: Place the red pepper, garlic and bread in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until well chopped. Add the water and pulse to combine. Gradually, while the machine is running, add the oils, salt, and cayenne pepper, and mix until thick. Set aside.

3. If you are cooking this a day ahead, cover and refrigerate. If not, add the fish, mussels, scallops, and shrimp, cover, and cook until the fish is cooked, about 10 minutes.

4. Just before serving, add the remaining 2 tablespoons Pernod. Transfer to 6 heated shallow bowls and serve immediately. Garnish with the parsley, basil, thyme, and drizzle with rouille.

From The $50 Dinner Party: 26 Dinner Parties That Won’t Break Your Bank, Your Back, or Your Schedule (Simon & Schuster, 1998)