Bouillabaisse is a French dish soup made from local fresh fish. The fish stew is known for its delicious flavors and aromatic perfumes, it is made of handful of ingredients that you are sure to enjoy.
Fish stew is known for its unique combination of anise and tomato flavors, while some form of anise liquor is used to help mask the fishy smell and add a mildly sweet flavor to the stew.
Bouillabaisse is a traditional dish derived from the Provence region of France. It is extremely popular in the port city of Marseille, France, which has many different variations of this fish soup.
French fishermen made this soup of various fishes caught from the local waterways. It is today a classic dish made all over France and other parts of the world from any available fish from the local market.
What’s is Bouillabaisse?
Bouillabaisse got its name from the Provençal bouiabaisso, which is to boil and reduce or lower. This dish is made by boiling all the necessary ingredients and once cooked, they are simmered to perfection.
Today, this dish is typically served in two courses separating the fish and the broth. It is than mixed in the plate according to the individual’s taste.
The first type of bouillabaisse was made from Rockfish. Since Rockfish has become a non-merchantable fish and also has too many bones, restaurants are less likely to have it on the menu.
Fish stew is made with the combination of fish or seafood with seafood stock and vegetables. It is incredibly tasty and oozes a rich tomato and earthy flavor from the added earthy vegetables.
It makes a light meal that’s easy and quick to whip, and one can easily customize the ingredients to suit your preference.
Ironically, Haitian food also has a fish base soup infused with a rich tomato base flavor similar to the Bouillabaisse.
And come to find out, West African people have been using tomato sauce in their fish stew for years, which is meant to enrich the flavor and thicken the consistency.
It is an incredibly light meal that feels comforting and is extremely adaptable as you can change the spices depending on the availability and flavor. The perfect soup on a cold winter day or to help fuel the body to fight the common cold.
Bouillabaisse is usually made with fish stock. We opted for a reduced sodium vegetable stock since we could not obtain fish stock. Also, you can easily make your own stock, which is not difficult.
Simply adjust the spices and use water. It will take slightly longer to simmer in order to allow all the flavors to integrate fully.
Pastis or Sambvca
If you are wondering about the hint of sweetness that comes from this recipe, well wonder no more. The Bouillabaisse, due to its French origin, uses Pastis for that added anise flavor.
Pastis is an anise-flavored French spirit that contains additional flavor of licorice root. Not to be confused with star-anise, anise or aniseed is an actual flowering plant native to the Mediterranean. It has similar aroma to fennel and star anise.
But Pastis is not available everywhere except maybe around major cities.
Sambvca is the Italian version of Pastis that we used in this recipe. Since the flavor is fairly comparable to star-anise and fennel, this ingredient can be omitted if you are not a fan of alcohol.
Difference between Stew and soup?
Fish stew is your regular stew, but with a fish base and or various other seafoods. It is also known as fish soup, and it’s made by combining fish or seafood with stock and vegetables.
In fact, some people may add heavy cream to make it thick. But adding heavy cream is not a bouillabaisse our soup in this case.
Fish soup on the other hand is more liquid than an actual stew. Another words, fish stew is the same as fish soup, but the consistency is much thicker.
While some use sea bass as a base due to its less fishy flavors, bouillabaisse, on the other hand, can be made from any type of fish available from the local area. That being said, the fish stew will come out mildly sweet yet savory.
Benefits Of Fish Stew
Fish stew is one of the most nutritious meals and is beneficial for lactating women who are going through a troubling postpartum.
However, the use of sea bass to make fish stew means less total fat and is loaded with omega-3 fats.
In addition, it shows a great source of magnesium and potassium, while the addition of vegetables only adds more vitamins and minerals to the meal.
How To Store Bouillabaisse?
If you have savored your fish soup already, but there are some leftovers, you can refrigerate the remaining in an airtight container.
In fact, with proper storage, the fish stew can remain fresh in the refrigerator for three to four days. Simply reheat to enjoy again. What’s best about reheating fish stew – it will taste even better now that the seasonings have truly been incorporated.
What To Pair With Fish Stew?
Fish stew can be paired with tomato risotto, chickpea and fennel salad, and arugula salad. In fact, if you want to lay a great spread at dinner, you can make easy lemon pasta and bake strawberry ricotta cake as dessert. Not to forget, the stew tastes amazing with crusty bread!
4-5 lbs. of fish – great source of omega 3
5 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil – a liquid fat obtained from the pressing of olives. This oil is loaded with healthy fats and antioxidants.
1 small onion
2 chopped celery stalks
4 garlic cloves
2-3 plum tomatoes
1 piece of fennel chopped
2 thyme twigs
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon saffron
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ lemon juice
1oz Romana Sambvca- Italian liqueur
48oz reduced sodium vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Finely slice leeks, onion, and celery. In a large stock pan, heat olive oil. Add leeks, onion, and celery.
Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes until soften. Add garlic, tomatoes, and all remaining ingredients with the exception of the lemon juice and continue to cook for 10-15 more minutes on medium heat.
Add fish and sauteed the fish with the ingredients before adding the stock. Add the vegetable stock, the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Increase heat to boil and cover.
Once it reaches the boiling point, lower heat and cook on medium to medium-low heat for 15 minutes. Once the fish is tender and the broth thickens a bit, remove from heat, and allow it to rest before serving.
Recipe Cooking Tips
Bouillabaisse is usually made with fish stock. We opted for a reduced sodium vegetable stock since we could not obtain fish stock. Also, you can easily make your own stock, which is not difficult. Simply adjust the spices and use water. It will take slightly longer to simmer in order to allow all the flavors to integrate fully.
If you want a little more substance in your soup, you could add potatoes.
Potatoes is actually a staple ingredient in bouillabaisse depending on the location. Of course, if you are making the Haitian version, malanga would be a very good alternative.
More Soups & Stews To Enjoy
If you loved this keto gumbo recipe, we recommend you try one of these soups and stews next.
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Bouillabaisse – French Fish Stew Recipe
- Medium Pot
- 4-5 lbs. fish; we used sea bass
- 5 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 leek
- 1 small onion
- 2 chopped celery stalks
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2-3 plum tomatoes
- 1 piece of fennel chopped
- 2 star-anise
- 2 thyme twigs
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon saffron
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ½ lemon juice
- 1 oz Romana Sambvca
- 48 oz reduced sodium vegetable stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Finely slice leeks, onion, and celery. In a large stock pan, heat olive oil. Add leeks, onion, and celery.Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes until soften. Add garlic, tomatoes, and all remaining ingredients with the exception of the lemon juice and continue to cook for 10-15 more minutes on medium heat.
- Add fish and sauteed the fish with the ingredients before adding the stock. Add the vegetable stock, the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Increase heat to boil and cover.Once it reaches the boiling point, lower heat and cook on medium to medium-low heat for 15 minutes. Once the fish is tender and the broth thickens a bit, remove from heat, and allow it to rest before serving.