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Bouillabaisse Sauce

May 5, 2011

bouillabaisse sauce 1 - food slash tech

Inspiration is a funny thing… you know, how it waxes and wanes with no apparent rhyme nor reason. I’m not saying that I haven’t been cooking – I have! But I don’t consider myself a natural writer so it takes an awful lot of momentum to sit down and write something I am happy with. I have over a dozen recipes- in-waiting which just need some finishing touches before I feel they can be published. However, my friends have been complaining about the lack of new material of late, and Jim McJim wants to do many more Experimental Wednesdays, and these seem to have given me some inspiration.

I should also let you know that I have a couple of Guest Posts coming out in the next few weeks from some of the characters you have come to know on Food[slash]Tech. I do hope you enjoy this culinary spring as much as I am! 

This recipe was part of the Eprimental Wednesday #2 – Cheap Catches and went superbly with both the smoked and pan fried trout fillets. Jim McJim and I went a little overboard with everything – we made a wonderful fish stock with all the bones and off cuts from the other dishes we experimented with. I can *highly* recommend freezing the shells from any shell fish you might have eaten so you can pull them out for sauces, soups and stocks such as this. The saffron at the end is the real clincher for this one – but don’t get over excited, it’s such a powerful flavour that you don’t want to over do it.

So it has taken a while to write up, but now that you’re spending all that time in the sun and enjoying time by the sea, this is the perfect way to dive back into some exciting cooking with fish!

Serves 4… roughly.


  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 4 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 stick of Celery, finely chopped
  • 1 bulb of Fennel, finely chopped
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 large handful of Parsley, finely chopped
  • Zest of half an Orange
  • Small pinch of Saffron
  • 300 ml of Double Cream
  • 1 pint of Fish Stock
  • Shells – langoustines, crab, lobster, whatever you have handy
  • Herbes de Provence – a couple of pinches of the ready made stuff, or use my recipe
  • 1/2 Kg of vine tomatoes (with the vine) – you could use a tin of chopped tomatoes instead.

Get Cooking

bouillabaisse sauce with pan roasted trout

First, let’s prep everything. The tomatoes; get them in a baking tray, splash over some olive oil, some S & P. Keep the vines on and roast them in a low (c. 160) oven for 45mins to an hour. Blitz it quickly in a blender. You can make your own fish stock for this, too. Ours was super simple: a load of fish bones and off cuts; a carrot or two, roughly chopped; a white onion, quartered; herbs of your liking (think French!); a corn on the cob, in large chunks, if you wish. Cover with water and let it cook for an hour or two.

Ok, now the main event… Heat the oil in a large pan and melt the onions, fennel, garlic and celery for 3 or 4 mins. Add the tomatoes and all the herbs but the saffron. Cook for another 3-4 minutes. Now add the stock, orange zest and shells – simmer hard for about 30 – 45 minutes.

Remove the shells (controversial!) and blend thoroughly. Pass through a fine sieve into a clean pan. Now add the saffron and some double cream – you may not need all of it as it is a bit of a preference thing! Bring everything to the boil again and whisk thoroughly for a minute or so; you should end up with a lovely, glistening sauce.

I am such a huge fan of this sauce, that if you make it, you must invite me to clean the pans with a nice chunk of freshly made bread – I’ll even bring the bread!

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