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The Lady’s Bouillabaisse

By Paula Deen


Difficulty: Medium

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Servings: 15


  • 1 lb mussels
  • 2 lbs firm fresh or striped bass or another fish fillet grouper fillets
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 3/4 cup chopped onions
  • 5 peeled and sliced ( or 1 cup canned Italian tomatoes) roma tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons plus more for the bread and plating butter
  • 2 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 (8 oz) bottle clam juice
  • 4 cut in 1/2 crab halves
  • 1 lb unpeeled shrimp
  • 1 loaf French bread
  • pinch saffron


Wash and scrub the mussels in cold water.


Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a large heavy pot. Add the mussels and cover the pot. * Steam for 6 to 8 minutes or until the mussels open. Discard any mussels that didn’t open. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Cut the fish into 1-inch thick slices.

Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the garlic, onions, tomatoes, fennel, saffron, salt and pepper. Add the mussel broth to the pot and 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the boiling water and clam juice. Bring to a rolling boil, add the crabs and fish, and continue to boil for 6 to 8 minutes. Add the mussels along with the shrimp, and boil for an additional 5 minutes.

Slice the French bread, butter it, and toast lightly. Serve the bouillabaisse in large individual bowls lined with toasted French bread; pile in the seafood and ladle the broth over it. Top each bowl with 1 tablespoon of butter. Pass the remaining bread at the table.

*Cook’s Note: If you like a spicier soup you may add a couple of whole hot peppers to the pot at the start of cooking.

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