Authentic Bouillabaisse comes from the south of France and includes rascasse (scorpion fish) as an essential ingredient. It is, however, perfectly possible to make this wonderful main-course soup without it. Use as large a variety of fish as you can.

  • 45 ml / 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 leeks, white parts only, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 450 g / 1 lb ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 liters / 5 pints / 12 cups boiling fish stock or water
  • 15 ml / 1 tbsp tomato puree (paste)
  • large pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 fresh bouquet garni, containing 2 thyme springs, 2 bay leaves, and 2 fennel sprigs
  • 3 kg / 6½ lb mixed fish, cleaned and cut into large chunks
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
  • salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper
  • a bowl of Rouille and a bowl of Aioli, to serve
  • For the garnish
  • 16 slices of French bread, toasted and rubbed with garlic
  • 30 ml / 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  1. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onions, leeks, garlic, and tomatoes. Cook until slightly softened. Stir in the stock or water, tomato puree and saffron. Add the bouquet garni and boil until the oil is amalgamated. Lower the heat; add the fish and potatoes.
    Suitable fish for Bouillabaisse include rascasse, conger eel, monkfish, red gurnard, and John Dory.
  3. Simmer the soup for 5-8 minutes, removing each type of fish as it becomes cooked. Continue to cook until the potatoes are very tender. Season well with salt, pepper, and cayenne.
  4. Divide the fish and potatoes among individual soup plates. Strain the soup and ladle it over the fish. Garnish with toasted French bread and parsley. Serve with rouille and aioli.