Bouillabaisse, the French Fish Soup with Rouille, made by yourself

My Bouillabaisse recipe and this Kochwiki article shows many tips and ideas for your next French fish soup.

The Bouillabaisse is originally a poor-eating soup, the less quality fish or fish leftovers have been cooked for a long time to get the full taste out of these ingredients. The today known fish soup of this kind is hardly to be surpassed at taste variety and has a long development behind itself.

In the article I first discuss the original bouillabaisse and let a French star chef have his say. Then I show my variant of the spicy fish soup on the mainland and deal intensively with the rouille and the different cheeses you can serve with the soup.

I would be happy if you try this soup with fish and share it with your friends. I wish you good luck!

1. Bouillabaisse Original Recipe

I could enjoy my first bouillabaisse in Saint Tropez in southern France. Unfortunately, the name of the restaurant has slipped my mind. I still remember the wonderful taste of this soup today. I remember this evening especially because it is the only visit by moonlight to a cemetery I have ever made. Starting point was the old fortress of Saint Tropez, the view over the Gulf of Saint Tropez is great and opposite Saint Maxime can be seen. The Avenue Antoine de Saint-Exupéry leads directly to the old cemetery, which also appears in the movie “Swimming Pool” with Romy Schneider. By moonlight, this place offers an incredible atmosphere and creates a moment you won’t forget.

The Bouillabaisse is a soup that is eaten at best at the sea. The salty air and the ambience simply give the soup the last kick.

Bouillabaisse Marseille is a famous French fish soup.

2. Bouillabaisse Marseille

For the original recipe you need many different kinds of fish, which you usually don’t get on the mainland. Therefore I have simplified the recipe, so that you succeed with the fish soup with less expenditure excellently. I have cooked and refined the bouillabaisse in my own way about 40 times in the last 15 years. The salmon is not typical, but I find it first pleasing and suitable and furthermore salmon belongs to the easily available fish in Austria and Germany. By the way, paprika is not a typical bouillabaisse ingredient in the traditional sense. I have tried this out and find that the paprika brings an additional, tasty depth to the Mediterranean fish soup. For the white bread slice with rouille we still need the cheese, here I have tested different sorts of taste and describe these following. The cheese is sometimes served with it, so it is not a “must have”, but if you have tried it with cheese, you won’t get rid of it most of the time.

You can hardly cook the Bouillabaisse original recipe exactly on the mainland, because you have a hard time getting the ingredients!

3. Paul Bocuse about La Bouillabaisse

According to Paul Bocuse, the fish stock is best prepared from subsequent fish: Scorpion fish, sea sow, merlan, mullet, parsnip, herring king, conger eel and lobster. His further information is particularly helpful with regard to the consistency of the bouillabaisse: “Cook the soup as much as possible for 15 minutes. The cooking intensity causes the fish stock to mix with the oil and butter, which is further strengthened by the seasoning extracted from the pieces of fish, and finally the consistency of a creamy soup is achieved. The notes are taken from the book Bocuse “The new kitchen”.

Paul Bocuse gives the saffron tip on the subject of seasoning bouillabaisse. The saffron should be the dominant note in the fish soup and it must bring its golden colour into it. Fennel and aniseed are needed to make the composition perfect.

The original fish stew Bouillabaisse is today the queen of fish soups!

The simple fish soup as well as the bouillabaisse tolerates fennel, aniseed and saffron.

4. Recipe for a simple Bouillabaisse

I have experimented a lot over the last 15 years and also read about this soup from old masters. The task was to create a bouillabaisse that would also succeed far away from the sea and be easy to cook. While experimenting with this soup, I tried different types of cheese again and again and noted down the impressions. You will find the result in the further course of this article. When preparing rouille, please pay attention to the olive oil. I use a fine and light oil in the taste, the composition becomes then more pleasing in the taste.

You can cook a fish stock yourself for your fish soup or buy a fish stock in a jar. Vegetable broth as a base is also possible, but is not so tasty and “real”!

5. Baguette, Rouille …and Cheese for the Bouillabaisse

The recipe for rouille can be found at the end of the page within the recipe for the fish soup. In may restaurants mayonnaise is simply prepared with oliv oil and wild garlic. The relationship to aioli (garlic mayonnaise) is clear to see. Here are the findings on different types of cheese, combined with bouillabaisse with roasted white bread and rouille. Place the cheese coarsely grated on the white bread spread with rouille and roasted beforehand. The bread with side ingredients may also swim briefly in the soup, slightly soaked it develops the typical taste.

5.1 Mountain Cheese

In the combination described above, this is the most powerful and particularly spicy variant.

5.2 Emmental Cheese

In the combination described above, this variant is particularly salty on the palate. Recommended balance with more rouille.

5.3 Gouda

Very pleasing and pleasant variant, the Gouda harmonizes finest with the soup. Recommended to top with some fresh thyme.

5.4 Pecorino

Use a cheese as young as possible, Pecorino sardo DOP with green label is ideal. Very interesting in case of cow’s milk intolerance.

5.5 Sbrinz

The very original cheese tastes to me personally only in very small quantities to the above combination.

5.6 Manchego

If possible, use young cheese, which is mild, fresh and sour. Manchego sheep’s cheese made from raw milk is ideal. This cheese is called Queso Manchego Artesano (artisan Manchego cheese). Very interesting in case of cow’s milk intolerance.

6. What makes the perfect Bouillabaisse so special?

For me it is the typical taste of fennel, anise and saffron, which also goes well with dill. Since the fish soup is cooked quickly, I do not pass through the soup and do not mix the soup. I like it visually better when the soup has visible vegetable contents and thus becomes a main course. The fish inlay itself can poach in the soup from my point of view, long cooking lets the fish decompose and does not bring a nice result on the plate. Therefore I pour over the fish pieces “only” with the boiling soup, as a rule this is sufficient to cook the fish insert. Care should be taken with fresh mussels, these are often sandy and should be cooked beforehand. This can be done with a little white wine and fish stock, the mussel stock is then added to the soup through a fine hair sieve. Have a loo at the recipe mussels in white wine and simplify the mussel preparation for the fish soup according to his own idea. Paul Bocuse doesn’t like to combine the mussels with the bouillabaisse because he thinks the mussels are too strong in taste. Just try it out for yourself and develop your own recipe.

7. Recipe Bouillabaisse

Print Recipe
5 from 24 votes
5 from 24 votes
Recipe Bouillabaisse with many tips and ideas for the preparation of Bouillabaisse Marseille. French fish soup of the finest cook with this Wiki contribution.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Courses, Soup, Starter & Appetizer
Cuisine: French Recipes
Keyword: Gluten Free Recipes
Servings: 4 Portions
Calories: 1490kcal
Author: Thomas Sixt
For the Bouillabaisse
  • 2 pc clove of garlic
  • 5 pc tomatoes
  • 1 stick leek only the white and light green part
  • 2 pc carrots
  • 1 pc fennel tuber
  • 2 tsb oliv oil
  • 2 tsb tomato puree
  • 100 ml white wine
  • 600 ml fish stock
  • 50 g Butter
  • 4 pc bay leaves
  • 1 bunch Dill
  • some saffron
  • 1/2 tsp sweet paprika optional, try it!
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch pepper
  • 1 pinch Chili
  • some Pastis
Fish Inlay
  • 100 g salmon fillet
  • 100 g hake
  • 100 g cod fillets
  • 20 pc mussels fresh
For the Rouille
  • 1 slice white bread
  • some fish stock
  • 3 pc saffron threads
  • 2 pc cloves of garlic
  • some Chili
  • 3 pc egg yolks
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch pepper
  • 400 ml oliv oil
  • 1 pc Baguette
  • 100-150 g grated cheese
  • Wash and peel all the vegetables and cut into small cubes. Sweat the vegetable cubes in olive oil until translucent.
  • Add the tomato paste and roast lightly.
  • Add the white wine and fish stock and bring to the boil quickly.
  • Add the butter, all aromatics and herbs, finely chopped where possible.
  • Let the soup boil for 15 minutes and season with salt, pepper, chilli and some pastis.
  • Wash the fish fillets, dab dry and cut into 1.5*1.5 large cubes and place in a plate or soup tureen.
  • Let the soup boil until it is thick, then pour over the pieces of fish and serve quickly.
  • Please prepare the rouille before the soup or while the fish soup is cooking. Soak white bread with fish stock and saffron, I use as little stock as possible, just enough for the bread to soak up.
  • Mash garlic, chilli pepper without seeds, bread prepared in a mortar one after the other. Add egg yolks with salt and pepper, stir in the oil slowly drop by drop, you should make a mayonnaise-like sauce, then add more oil and make sure that the oil emulsifies with the remaining ingredients.
  • Cut the baguette into slices and roast briefly in a pan, add the grated cheese and rouille to the fish soup.

8. Calories (kcal) Bouillabaisse

Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1490 Calories from Fat 1170
% Daily Value*
Fat 130g200%
Saturated Fat 26g163%
Trans Fat 0.002g
Polyunsaturated Fat 15g
Monounsaturated Fat 84g
Cholesterol 248mg83%
Sodium 1809mg79%
Potassium 1070mg31%
Carbohydrates 43g14%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 7g8%
Protein 37g74%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

9. More Soups Recipes Ideas

All soup recipes

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Author: Thomas Sixt

Hi, I am a German Chef, Cookbook Author and Food Photographer. The imparting of cooking knowledge is my great passion. Everyone can cook for himself and with this website I would like to contribute to its success. Let yourself be inspired and enjoy good food. If you have any cooking questions, please use the comment function at the end of each article and recipe. I wish Thomas Sixt Good Luck!