As winter starts to come towards an end, there are still a few weeks left of chilliness to enjoy a warm bowl of soup. Nothing is as comforting as feeling a warm stream of soup heat you up from the inside out. Often I warm up with chunky vegetable soups or warm vegetable purees, but when I’m in the mood for something special I always go for bouillabaisse. I love ordering bouillabaisse whenever I’m lucky enough to see it on restaurant menus because bouillabaisse is the perfect combination of spicy, garlicy broth and hearty seafood. I often find that restaurants include too much bread and too much fish for my taste. I prefer my soup to mainly be filled with flavorful shellfish, so I decided to make my own. For my Supper Club with my mom, we cut down on the lengthy ingredient list to make our Bouillabaisse more appropriate for a simple dinner for five. Although we kept our fish list super simple by only using oysters, clams, scallops, and shrimp, feel free to add as many types of seafood as you want. What makes bouillabaisse so delicious is its combination of various types of seafood, so the more people you are making it for, the more variation you can create. Experiment with various types of seafood, and remember that as a general rule of thumb, you should use about 1/2 to 3/4 pound of seafood per person.
Cheater’s Shellfish Bouillabaisse
Adapted from Just One Cookbook
Time: 90 minutes
Yield: Serves 4-6
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 7 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1 1/4 cup fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 2 celery stalks, minced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 lb shrimp
- 1 lb scallops
- 1 lb clams
- 1 jar fresh oyster
- 28 oz diced tomatoes with juice
- 2 cups clam juice (you can substitute this for fish stock)
- 1 ½ Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 ½ tsp. salt
- 3 fresh basil leaves, minced
- 2 tbsp. fresh parsley + more for garnish
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Red pepper flakes for garnish
- Cut vegetables into bite size pieces.
- In a large pot, heat olive oil on medium heat, then add garlic and all the vegetables and sauté on medium-high heat until lightly browned (5-10 min).
- Add tomato paste, salt, basil, parsley, and pepper and mix well.
- Add the tomatoes (with juice), clam juice, the juice from jar of oyster. Bring it to just a boil and lower heat and simmer 15 minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add scallops, oysters, and any optional fish, allowing it to cook for about 2 minutes.
- Now add the clams and shrimp. Cook until all shells have opened, the shrimp is pink and curled, and the fish flakes easily, about six minutes.
- When the soup starts to boil, use a spoon to skim off any of the scum that arrises. Fattier fish will produce more scum, so if you are mainly using shellfish, don’t be surprised if there is hardly any scum.
- Allow the soup to continue simmering for 15 more minutes.
- Garnish with red pepper flakes and parsley. Serve with crusty bread if desired.