Cheater’s Shellfish Bouillabaisse

19 Mar

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
Optional: Serve with bread or add crab, lobster, monkfish, mullet, mussels, conger eel, red snapper or bullrout


  1. Cut vegetables into bite size pieces.
  2. 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).
  3. Add tomato paste, salt,  basil, parsley, and pepper and mix well.
  4. 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.
  5. Reduce heat to medium. Add scallops, oysters, and any optional fish, allowing it to cook for about 2 minutes.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Allow the soup to continue simmering for 15 more minutes.
  9. Garnish with red pepper flakes and parsley. Serve with crusty bread if desired.

8 Responses to “Cheater’s Shellfish Bouillabaisse”

  1. love and cupcakes March 25, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

    This looks and sounds AMAZING! I just bookmarked this recipe and I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing!

    • ModernAlice March 26, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

      Thanks Paola! It tastes delicious and makes great leftovers too!

  2. Leanova Designs March 23, 2012 at 7:58 am #

    I’m so hungry now after looking at this!

  3. Julie Kendall March 20, 2012 at 5:32 am #


  4. Nami | Just One Cookbook March 19, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

    Thank you Sara for trying this recipe! You are right – various kinds of seafood definitely gives GREAT flavor. I get addicted to this soup, and if I make it just for our family, I can have this soup the next day lunch and dinner… 🙂 Your Bouillabaisse looks wonderful! Thank you again for linking back to me!

    • ModernAlice March 20, 2012 at 10:56 am #

      Your recipe was absolutely delicious! Great idea of using the oyster juice and clam juice to substitute fro stock made from fish bones. This made it much easier to round up the ingredients!

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