Bouillabaisse Recipe (French Seafood Stew)

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Bouillabaisse Recipe |

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.  The weather in San Francisco Bay Area for the past week had been cloudy, rainy, and cold.  It’s fairly unusual that we get any rain at all in June and I can’t wait nice warm summer to arrive.  I just want to thank everyone for your kind messages past week for our cold, and I can finally say my kids and I are better!  It took us forever to recover from this bug.

I’m sorry if I disappoint you today if you stopped by to find Japanese recipe.  As I mentioned before, from time to time I share non-Japanese recipes though the majority of food I prepare are Japanese.  If my family liked what I cooked, then the recipe will be added to Just One Cookbook (our family recipe collection) for my future reference.  I promise I will post a traditional Japanese food on Wednesday!  The recipe I am sharing today is bouillabaisse.  It’s not difficult to make but the key to the great flavor is to get good seafood.  I love the taste of warm tomato based broth infused with saffron, mixed in really good seafood and a glass of white wine and some bread (my mouth is already watering).

Bouillabaisse II

Before getting to the recipe, I want to thank Katherine from Katherine Martinelli and Manu from Manu’s Menu for the blog awards they presented to Just One Cookbook last week.  Thank you so much ladies!

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Bouillabaisse (French Seafood Stew)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4-6
  • ½ cup dry sherry
  • ½ tsp. saffron
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 shallots, minced
  • 1 cup fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, minced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 lb white fish (we used Alaskan true cod, feel free to substitute with halibut or ocean trout), cut into bite sizes
  • 2.5 lb seafood mix (your choice of shrimp, clams or mussels, lobsters, scallops, crab meat, squid, etc), defrosted in the fridge for a few hours, if frozen
  • 1 jar fresh oyster
  • 28 oz diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 cups clam juice
  • Chopped parsley for garnish
  • Red pepper flakes for garnish (optional)
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. basil or 1 fresh basil leaf, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a small bowl, combine saffron and sherry and set aside.
  2. Cut vegetables and fish into bite size pieces.
  3. Prepare and clean seafood as necessary. Some of the Costco sells a great frozen seafood medley pack and we used it today. It saves quite a bit time not having to clean and cut the seafood.
  4. In a large pot (I use a big Le Creuset pot), heat olive oil on medium heat. Add garlic and all the vegetables and sauté on low heat until lightly golden brown (20 min).
  5. Add Seasonings and mix well.
  6. Add all the liquids: tomatoes with juice, clam juice, the juice from jar of oyster, and the saffron infused sherry. Bring it to just a boil and lower heat and simmer 15 minutes.
  7. Add all the seafood. When the soup starts to boil, skim off the scum and fat from the soup. This is a key point to have a good clear soup with refined taste.
  8. Keep simmering for 15 minutes.
  9. Top with garnishes and serve immediately with bread.
Adapted from


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  1. This is a fab photo, love the contrast in colors, the bokeh… are you using a 50mm? As for the dish, now your talking honey.. this is right up my “French” alley…. you are bringing back memories of what my grandmother would cook. I have not had this dish in forever. As for mussels.. neh, I might have to go sand digging.

    • Hi Elle Marie! I’m using 60mm macro lens. I’m still working on Bokeh (you are photographer – how come people use Japanese word for this?)… I don’t quite understand how my camera works. I’m taking like over 100s and trying to see what makes difference. I wish I can take a quick lesson from you! Haha, I’m not a mussels fan and I gave them away to my hubby.

  2. Ohhhh, can I come over for dinner please???? I can almost get the amazing aromas of seafood cooking on the stove, just by looking at your pictures. I love all of them, but the last one is truly amazing… :-) This soup reminds me of a trip to Normandie and Bretagne that I went on as a child… we had it in a restaurant in St Malo while outside it was cold and raining… I still remember it: it was THAT good! <3

  3. I’m glad that you and the children are all better. It is suddenly cold again here in London and I’m glad you posted something with soup. I will just imagine eating it. We enjoyed eating the seafood in San Francisco ( we visited ages ago) and this brings back happy memories and warm feelings. Keep well, Nami.

  4. Your bouillabaisse was worth all the efforts and the long list of ingredients (I have never even tried to make it myself), since it looks marvellous. I must say once more I am impressed by your step-by-step photos.
    It’s funny, we have both posted something French – although completely different – the same day :-)
    Thank you for mentioning the shop where you have bought the beautiful small cups, unfortunately I think it must be an American chain (doesn’t exist here). You are lucky to have it!

  5. Yay for you and your kids to not be sick anymore!! My weekend was great and it only rained a little. I would totally think that San Fran would be sunny all year, how interesting!

    I don’t mind seeing any type of ethnic cuisine on your blog, whether it be Japanese, French, etc. because you make everything look delicious!

  6. I’ve never tried to make Bouillabaisse! Love your step by step…I will be trying it soon and enjoying with a glass of crisp white :)

  7. Hi Nami! Happy that you and your kids had recovered! 😀
    This is the best nice shot! I can imagine the taste and aroma of the heavenly fresh seafood just from the pics and all the seafood juices! Nomnomnom…. 😛

  8. Nami I love your food presentation, your photos are just so is like I saw it from the magazine! Big compliments to Shen as well!
    I am not big fan of the mussels and squid, that is my husbands department hahha but your dish looks fantastic and picture perfect!!

  9. Nami!!! I don’t know what to write…but this is really a stunning post esp the last photo. How i wish i am sitting there enjoying a plate of your freshly cook Bouillabaisse. Now is my turn to learn some photo shooting skills from you le…..:) Thumb up!!!

  10. This sounds like a delightful recipe, Nami! I’ve heard of Bouillabaisse, but I’ve never tried it. It somehow reminds me of paellla minus the rice ;). All that seafood must have made the soup very tasty…:D)!

  11. Nami, my husband would go NUTS over this! He normally orders a similar dish when we go to the local Greek restaurant, and it never dissapoints. I did try to replicate it last year but the seafood were overcooked so it didn’t turn out so great, that’s when I decided to stick to Asian cooking 99% of the time. Thank you for sharing, I love the beautiful photography also!

    • Nami, I love that you called my Mom an Iron Chef, I have to tell her that and it will make her day! She visits your blog regularly, and always comments on how lucky your children have you as a Mom!

      Maybe I need to get a Costco membership, it’s just so expensive to buy grocery now a days, especially good seafood. I can’t remember the last time I bought a nice piece of wild salmon, or my beloved scallops… Anyway your photos are even more amazing now a days, I just love reading your postings!

      • Nami, you’d be surprised how many times your name comes up in my conversations with my Mom!

        Most of my American Mom friends have membership to Costco and they go religiously, I make fun of them talking about their weekly trip, but you’ve got me intrigued! Let me go check out their membership pricing now…

  12. Nami-Your Boullabaisse is exquisite, and time consuming…but the results are a great reward, worth the long effort. Just look how gorgeous it turned out, and the flavor is amazing…also the presentation, and photos as well:DDD

  13. I m a HUGE fan of shrimp and fish- gosh I cant tell you how mouthwatering this looks.Wonderful flavors in the stew.The fact that it is with seafood makes this stew perfect for summers.Have a wonderful week ahead!

  14. Sounds delicious, and just the thing for a cold, dreary spring day. The weather hasn’t been great in Seattle lately either, but it appears that sunny, warm days may be a little more common now that June is here (here’s hoping).

  15. What a lovely recipe, I like how you include the photo with your ingredients (I was wondering about the clam juice, now I know). We have a great fish place down the way, this would be a fun one (maybe to do with kids?) to try.

  16. It’s so crazy to be craving hearty soup-like recipes in June, isn’t it?? But this one would definitely hit the spot right now. The flavors are so rich and just sound amazing together. Gorgeous meal, Nami, as always!
    (And I’m glad the colds are gone…mine stuck around way too long also.)

  17. I love Bouillabaisse…as a matter of fact, I tried this dish wherever I find…I never tried to make at home because my husband is not into all seafood…yours look delicious and it is perfect for a rainy day…
    Have a great week Nami :-)

  18. Definitely not disappointed … I love reading your Japanese recipes but I really love bouillabaisse and yours looks just fantastic. I love that addition of fennel and have to give that a try next time I make this.

    • I just came back from grocery shopping and I saw the fennel bulb named as Sweet Anise on the price tag. I don’t use this kind of veggie in Japanese cooking, so it’s sort of fascinating! I think this fennel bulb is a good addition to the taste and I won’t skip this. It has nice flavor and fragrance to it and I’m sure this ingredient makes the stew extra nice. :-)

  19. I’m happy you all feel better again now! The soup looks delicious! :) I love to read your non-Japanese recipes as well, and I like your idea of making this a family cookbook of favorite recipes instead of focusing on just one rather narrow topic.

  20. That French Bouillabaise looks frighteningly good! Your husband is certainly a great photographer and food stylist (love the elegant table setting and yellow roses!) but he wouldn’t even be able to be that if you weren’t first and foremost a GREAT cook. When are you guys inviting me over for dinner? 😉

    • Haha!! Thank you for your compliment, Maya! It’s actually me who takes food pictures and style food… BUT he reads about photography so he knows more technical stuff. I take a lot of pictures and I get lucky if some turns out good. My husband edits pictures after I took. That makes a HUGE difference. Sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s my picture after he edits….

  21. I have been given this huge bag of seafood! Very lucky I knw but now I’m so tempted to make boullabaisse- just need to find some time! LOL

  22. You’re truly awesome Nami! Not only are you a very good cook, but a great photographer & food stylist too! I love how you put life to every dish you make…it’s truly amazing!
    This Bouillabaisse of yours truly looks fabulous! Great job as always!

  23. Im sorry about the cold and rainy weather that you still have there… but shh i love the rain… and especially with a bowl of this Bouillabaisse? who wouldn’t be comforted and love the rain?
    But I hope you keep yourselves warm Nami. Take Care!

  24. Nami, how could you EVER disappoint? Adore Bouillabaisse and adore your photos and whole presentation, as ever. That last shot with the flowers has me thinking I want to get on a plane to SF and invite myself over! :-)

  25. Nami, you are so talented! What a fabulous looking Bouillabaisse! I could eat a few bowlfuls of this… I wish my family loved seafood as much as I do. I usually only eat this kind of dish when we eat out because I find it so frustrating to cook something to eat by myself, and besides I have to cook something else for everyone else! Sigh. I wish I could come over to your home and taste some of this… Thanks for sharing :) Maybe I will make some the next time I’m home alone :)

  26. Wow! Jon and I love seafood and your Bouillabaisse looks delish!! I am going to share this recipe and hopefully I am able to recreate it. What a beautiful table setting, as well! Glad to hear you and your family are feeling better! Keep up the good health!

  27. I love the sound of this so much…yeay for seafood!!:) Oh, I am sorry, I forgot to mention that even the visuals are just so delicious that it makes me feel like I should be heading to a French restaurant with the sign Nami on it to have this!!:D

  28. I’ve never tried making bouillabaisse, but you make it sound so easy Nami! Your presentation (as always) is absolutely stunning and this would make for such an elegant dinner =)

  29. The soup looks beautifully warm, incredible and rich! I`ve never tried Bouillabaisse before, but if I ever have saffron and fennel bulb in my kitchen, this recipe would be one of those must-try recipes in my list. Thanks for sharing!
    And is that how your dining table looks like?? I envy your family, Nami!

  30. With so many tasty ingredients and the variety of seafood used, this looks beautiful. I am surprised to see saffron in a stew, great!! Nami, you know that I had stopped by to see another Japanese delicacy, but I am really happy to read (and save) this recipe of yours! Happy cooking!!

  31. Times like these I am sad I live alone… That would be way too much food for me to eat alone, but I do love bouillabaisse! That seafood pack from Costco sounds like a great time saver Nami! I’ll just have to trek up to Nor Cal so I can eat this next time you make it for your family. LOL I’ll bring the wine. =)

  32. I loves the way u arrage the table & dishes! Super! 😉
    I wish I can make that dish… I just dont how where to find the white ish or even cod in Indonesia :(
    Well… I’m learning how to cook Jepanese & Korean food , coz their cuisine is so healthy! ur blog now is one of my fav then 😉
    Tq :)

  33. I never find it in the market – traditional or a hypermart, I think I have to order that right from the “sea” :))
    May I ask u how’s the texture of white fish?
    is it same as snapper or macarel?
    & do u know where u find the saffron? is a supermarket sell that?

    • Hope you can find clam juice because you don’t use any water for this recipe, and I think it’s crucial to have nice seafood stock from this clam juice. It’s in a glass bottle, and hopefully you can find this or similar kind. :-)

  34. Sarah

    Hi. I was just wondering how long it took you to defrost the seafood medley? or did you cook it from frozen? I’ve had this seafood medley in the freezer for a couple of months not sure of what to make. and this looks amazing and delicious!

    • Hi Sarah! Defrost the seafood in the fridge for a few hours. We really love this and have been making for many times. Hope you enjoy this as well!

      • Sarah

        Hi Nami! Thank you so much for getting back to me. Im eating it as i type. It is absolutely delicious!! :) thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe. and I must say I love the pictures. keep up the tasty recipes. :)

        • Hi Sarah! I’m so happy you liked this recipe. I have been making this so many times and we still enjoy it every time! It is pretty easy to prepare and totally worth the time. Thank you for your feedback! :)

  35. Clinton

    Hi Nami
    I found your Bouillabaisse recipe during a Google search. What a magnificent taste! Such depth and complexity of flavour. I hope you won’t be appalled that last night my partner and I cooked an eggplant and zucchini “lasagne” using the basics from this recipe, substituting vegetable stock (using only half the suggested water) for the clam juice, etc. It worked wonderfully.

    • Hi Clinton! I’m so happy you found my site! That is so cool that you two made lasagne out of this recipe! I love eggplant and zucchini… must be so delicious! Glad to hear you enjoyed it. Thanks for your feedback! :)

  36. michael

    I love to mix and match bouillabaisse recipes, I put in a full bottle(maybe sometimes full) of white French wine. lately I have a taste for SKY RIVER MEAD – honey wine- I’m gonna do it and no one can stop me…

  37. steve mew

    Given the delicate nature of French cuisine and the always positive nature of descriptive contructive narrative when cooking I was extremely surprised to see the word “scum” used to describe something that is part of the process of cooking. Possibly choose a word that isn’t assoicaited with the toilet or a diseased swamp ?

    Thanks for the recipe 😉

    • Hi Steve! Thanks for your feedback. Initially when I tried to translate from Japanese word “aku (灰汁)”, I did some research and the expression “skimming the fat and scum” was used in many recipes; therefore I’ve been using that. If you have a better word suggestion, I’d love to know. Fat and scum are different things, and I specifically want to mention the unnecessary things that float on the soup/broth. Thanks!