West Coast Bouillabaisse

West Coast Bouillabaisse

Preparation time: 20 min

Cooking time: 20 min

Portions: 6 servings


1 tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1 bulb fennel, sliced and fronds reserved for garnish
1 small red onion, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
1 yellow, red, or orange bell pepper, sliced
6 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 cup (250 mL) dry white wine
4 cups (1 L) Walter Caesar Mix (or 3 cups tomato juice and 1 cup clam juice)
4 cups (1 L) fish stock (recipe follows) or vegetable stock
1 tbsp chili flakes, plus extra for garnish
1 tbsp fennel seeds
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp (30 mL) canola oil
6 scallops
Sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper
2 tbsp unsalted butter
½ lb (225 g) live clams, scrubbed
½ lb (225 g) live mussels, scrubbed and debearded
2 lb (905 g) skinless firm fish fillets such as halibut, salmon, or lingcod, cut into 1-inch cubes
½ lb (225 g) mixed shellfish such as peeled and deveined shrimp and/or crabmeat
Tender celery leaves, for garnish
4 scallions, chopped, for garnish
Chopped fresh chives, for garnish
6 tbsp (90 mL) smoked chili mayo (recipe follows), to serve
Crusty bread, to serve
Lemon wedges, to serve


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the fennel, onions, celery, carrots, and bell peppers. Sauté for 5 minutes or until onions are tender and translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Add the wine and stir to scrape up the browned bits. Pour in the Caesar mix (or tomato juice and clam juice), fish stock (or vegetable stock), chili flakes, fennel seeds, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to medium-low, and simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and flavours are more concentrated.
  2. Heat the canola oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Pat-dry the scallops and add to the pan. Allow to sear undisturbed for about 2 minutes or until browned. Season with salt and pepper, flip the scallops over, and sear for another 2 minutes. Add the butter and baste. Transfer to a plate.
  3. When ready to serve, add the clams and mussels to the broth. Cover and cook until they just begin to open, about 3 minutes. Add the fish and mixed shellfish. Cover and cook another 3 to 5 minutes or until shells are fully open and fish is cooked through. (Discard any clams or mussels that haven’t opened.) Stir in the scallops.
  4. Divide soup among bowls, or serve family style from the cooking pot or a warmed tureen. Sprinkle each bowl with fennel fronds, celery leaves, scallions, chives, and chili flakes. Top with 1 tablespoon smoked chili mayo. Serve with crusty bread and lemon wedges on the side.


Bouillabaisse- a fisherman's stew from Marseilles- was traditionally built around whatever was pulled up in the nets and traps that day. The fishers would sell their catch in neat fillets, then toss all the trimmings and bycatch, along with some shellfish, into a broth infused with aromatics such as fennel and garlic. Just about any firm white fish or shellfish would be delicious in this tomato-based broth. You can keep it simple with just a halibut and clams or follow in the fishermen's footsteps and add a little of everything.

Recipe & photo from Lure (2017)
© 2017 Chefs for Oceans
Recipes © 2017 Ned Bell


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