Today I was chatting with someone about food (unsurprisingly) and I exclaimed excitedly, "I love fall and winter foods, they are just so comforting and cozy." The person I was talking with added, "Yeah and fattening." This can certainly be true, and is admittedly what makes cold-weathered food so enticing; however, Bouillabaisse is one of those dishes that can get away with straddling the line of being soothing, yet light.

This fish stew originated from beautiful Marseille, France. If you are intimated with making fish, don't be! A stew makes cooking fish easy, all you need is fresh fish and to make sure you do not overcook it.
I serve this stew with fresh crusty french bread, and my homemade lemon-caper aioli. When making aioli, many people recommend using neutral flavored oils (such as grape-seed); however, for this recipe I enjoyed tasting the Mediterranean-fruitness of the extra virgin olive oil, so that is what I used! I recommend stirring a little bit of the aioli into the stew and/or slathering it onto some bread and dunking it into the broth!

Bouillabaisse Ingredients:
1 lb. shrimp (shell on)
1 lb. scallops (preferably bay or whatever is fresh)
1 1/2 lb. of monkfish filets (or another firm fleshed fish)
24 littleneck clams (cleaned, scrubbed, rinsed and soaked for 10 minutes in water)
1 1/2 lb. cleaned calamari (cut into rings)
2 cups water
1 lb. fresh tomatoes
1 cup white wine
2 stalks celery (leaves included)
1 small white onion, cut in half
1 small bulb of fennel, chopped
1 cup  fresh parsley, chopped
10 small saffron threads
1/2 stick of butter
2 tbs. olive oil
crusty French bread, for serving
homemade aioli, for serving (recipe following)

  1. Peel and devein the shrimp. Set the shrimp aside and save the shells in order to make the stock. 
  2. In a small saucepan add the shrimp shells, water, tomato, celery and onion. Bring to a boil and back down to a simmer for 30 minutes. 
  3. In another large pan melt 1/2 of the butter and olive oil and add chopped fennel. Add white wine and clams. Cover and steam until clams open, about 5-10 minutes. Remove the clams and set aside. 
  4. Strain the shrimp stock and add it to the pan with the clam juice. Add the saffron. Add calamari and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the monkfish and simmer for another 10 minutes. Add the shrimp, scallops and re-add the clams. Bring this mixture to a boil for 2 minutes then take it off the heat. Add the remaining butter, olive oil and fresh parsley. Serve immediately. 
Aioli Ingredients:
1 small garlic clove
1 egg yolk                                                            
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 cup of extra virgin olive oil 
1/2 of a lemon's zest 
1/2 of a lemon's juice or more if needed
2 tbs. capers, chopped 
1 tbs. parsley, minced
pinch of sea salt
good amount of freshly ground black pepper

  1. Mince the garlic clove into tiny pieces. Add a sprinkle of salt to the garlic. Using the back of your knife, press the garlic until it resembles a paste. Set the garlic aside. 
  2. In a stainless steel bowl add the egg yolk and dijon mustard. Whisk them together. 
  3. Start by adding the oil drop by drop (by whisking this way you will emulsify your oil instead of seperating the egg from the oil). Add the oil in small quainties and keep whisking until you get a nautrally thickened and smooth mayonnaise. You may not need all of the oil. 
  4. Add the garlic paste, lemon zest, juice, salt and pepper. Whisk together until incorporated. 
  5. Fold in the capers and parsley. Taste and adjust seasonings. 

Happy Eatings!

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