Bandol bouillabaisse

  • serves 4

This bouillabaisse recipe from Bandol takes time but it's worth it. Start preparing this well before your guests arrive if you're making it for a party



  • baguette 1 small
  • olive oil
  • mussels 250g, cleaned
  • tiger prawns 4 large, and de-veined
  • red mullet 750g, chop the rest into small pieces
  • gurnard or hake 750g, chop the rest into small pieces
  • fish or shellfish trimmings 250g (use the mullet and gurnard trimmings)
  • fennel ¼ bulb, chopped
  • onion ½, chopped
  • leek 1 small,   chopped
  • celery 1 stalk, chopped
  • red peppers 2, seeded and roughly chopped
  • thyme or tarragon or dill or parsley 2 sprigs of each, to serve
  • juniper berry 1
  • star anise 1
  • bay leaves 3
  • fennel seeds 1 tsp
  • black peppercorns 1 tsp
  • ginger a thumb-sized piece, chopped
  • garlic ½ bulb, peeled and roughly chopped
  • potatoes 200g, peeled and chopped
  • white wine 300ml, plus a splash for the mussels
  • tomato purée 100g
  • chopped tomatoes 400g tin
  • fish boullion or stock 2 litres
  • fennel 1 bulb
  • olive oil
  • vegetable stock cube ½
  • baby new potatoes 250g, washed and halved
  • saffron a pinch
  • saffron a good pinch
  • garlic 2 cloves, peeled and crushed
  • mild chilli ½ small, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 25g
  • egg yolk 1
  • extra-virgin olive oil 75ml
  • vegetable oil 50ml
  • cayenne pepper a pinch
  • lemon juice a squeeze


  • Step 1

    To make the croutons, heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Slice the baguette into very thin slices and place onto a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and season. Bake for 5 minutes or until golden. Leave to cool.

  • Step 2

    Heat 50ml olive oil in a large stock pan, add the chopped fish, fennel, onion, leek and celery and fry for a few minutes. Add the chopped peppers, herbs, spices, ginger, garlic and chopped potatoes and cook for 10 minutes.

  • Step 3

    Add the white wine, tomato purée, chopped tomatoes and fish stock. Bring to the boil, skim off any scum that rises to the surface, and simmer the soup for 1½ hours.

  • Step 4

    Meanwhile confit the fennel. Trim the fennel bulb and cut into 4-6 equal pieces. Cover with olive oil in a small deep pan until the fennel is submerged. Season and simmer. Cook gently for 10 minutes, then drain and leave to cool.

  • Step 5

    To make the potatoes, dissolve the vegetable stock cube in boiling water with a pinch of saffron. Add the potatoes and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Strain and cool.

  • Step 6

    Blitz the soup with a stick blender very briefly, to liquidise about 1/3. Strain the soup through a sieve into a clean pan, pushing through well, and season. Bring to a simmer.

  • Step 7

    Remove 50ml of the soup, and transfer to another pan. To make the rouille simmer the saffron, garlic and chilli in the 50ml fish soup for a couple of minutes until the garlic is soft, then break the bread into the soup and stir well so it soaks up the liquid. Remove it from the heat and allow to cool a little. Pour the mixture into a blender and blitz with the egg yolk.

  • Step 8

    Slowly trickle in the oil, stopping the machine occasionally and scraping down the sides. When blended and thick, season the mixture with salt, cayenne and lemon juice. Give the rouille a final blend, then transfer to a bowl.

  • Step 9

    Just before serving, steam open the mussels, in a pan, with a dash of white wine then add the mussels to the main soup pan. Add the saffron potatoes and pieces of confit fennel. Simmer gently for 5-10 minutes. Fry the reserved pieces of mullet, gurnard and prawns in a hot, non-stick pan with some oil for 3 minutes on each side – start skin-side down with the pieces of fish. Season.

  • Step 10

    Divide the soup with the fennel, mussels and saffron potatoes between 4 bowls. Put the seared prawns and fillets of fish on top of the soup and scatter over the chopped dill. Serve with the croutons and the rouille on the side.

Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 31
  • Carbs 36.2g
  • Protein 105.5g
  • Fat 43.9g
  • Salt 3.7g
  • Saturates 4.8g
  • Fibre 8.9g