Bouillabaisse with Rouille

As featured in blog post #8: The Magic of Mayo.

Bouillabaisse is a French fisherman’s stew, similar to cioppino.  Rumor has it that after a long day at sea fishermen of southern France would pool together their leftover catch.  They would then cook up the fish with white wine, tomatoes, potatoes if they had them, and any herbs on hand.  The traditional way to eat bouillabaisse is to separate out the seafood and broth completely, but I like it in the same bowl (#rebel).  The saffron aioli is a crucial element of the dish known as rouille (meaning rust in French due to it’s yellow-red appearance).  Try a bite of stew plain, then mix a little rouille into the broth.  Try spreading it on the crusty bread and dipping it in the broth as well. Play around with the elements and see what you like best.  You really can’t go wrong with this fisherman’s stew.




  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (I recommend homemade)
  • 1/2 teaspoon raw garlic, smashed into a paste
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron
  • salt, to taste


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme OR 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3/4 cup crushed tomatoes OR 3 large fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 2 1/2 cups fish stock/chicken stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced 1/2″
  • 2 white fish filets (cod, grouper, whatever you have)
  • 8-10 scallops
  • 8-10 shrimp
  • handful of mussels or clams (optional)
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • crusted bread, sliced and toasted, to serve

For the Rouille:  Mix together all ingredients, seasoning to taste.

For the stew:  Heat a large, straight sided sauté pan over medium low heat.  Add the oil and let it come up to temp, then add in the onion and celery.  Sweat the veggies for 3-4 minutes, then add the garlic, fennel seed, bay leaves, and thyme.  Sauté another 2 minutes then deglaze with the white wine.  One the wine is reduced by 1/2 stir in the tomatoes, fish stock, and saffron.  Allow the liquid to come to a boil then spoon in the potatoes.  Cook over medium heat until the potatoes are almost soft, about 20 minutes.  You may need to add water depending on how much cooks off.  Once the potatoes are almost cooked add in your white fish and let simmer for about 2 minutes.  Add in the scallops, shrimp, and mussels/clams and cook until the mollusks’ shells open.  Taste the broth and adjust for salt and pepper  (Keep in mind that the rouille is salty).

Spoon seafood and potatoes into bowls and add a few spoonfuls of broth. Serve with slices of crusty French of Italian bread and plenty of rouille.  Bon app!

May 2012: Me chillin’ in Cassis, France, enjoying some bouillabaisse broth and crusty French bread. See that bright yellow looking mayo in the bottom left? #rouilleFTW. Photo credit to Poppa Plilgram.

Want to print this for all your besties? Of course you do! Click the link for an easy to print one-page pdf file: Bouillabaisse with Rouille


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