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How to make it: Bruno Loubet's bouillabaisse recipe

Here's how you can make this French classic at home

By Bruno Loubet
Published 29 Jul 2018, 16:00 BST, Updated 14 Jul 2021, 16:14 BST

Before leaving London to open his cookery school in Queensland, Michelin-starred chef Bruno Loubet dished up a version of this classic in his Clerkenwell bistro, using British fish.

Serves: 6 Takes: 1 hour

Ask the fishmonger to scale and fillet the fish, discard the gills but keep the heads and bones.
1.5kg (approx) gurnard
700g monkfish tail
3 x 200g red mullet (or John Dory or gilthead bream)
1 x 600g bass (or 6 middle-cut conger eel steaks — traditional, but beware of bones)
250ml extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large leek, chopped
150g fennel, chopped
2 celery stalks
seasonings: rosemary, thyme and bay leaf to taste, zest of 1 orange, smoked paprika, 1 star anise and 5 garlic cloves, crushed
250ml dry white wine
350ml tomato passata
pinch saffron, crushed
Pernod, to taste (optional)
500g waxy potatoes, peeled and sliced into rounds
250g squid or cuttlefish rings
18 mussels

1 Preheat the oven to 220°C, fan 200°C, gas 7. Split the fish heads and chop the bones, then brush them all over with 50ml olive oil. Place in a roasting tray and roast for 10-15 mins.
2 Meanwhile, heat 100ml oil in a large pan over a low heat, then add the onion, leek, fennel and celery. As it starts to soften, add salt and the rest of the oil. Once tender, turn up the heat and cook for 10 mins or so, until golden.
3 Stir in the seasonings, pour in the wine
and bring to the boil. Add the passata and roasted fish heads and bones. Cover with 2 litres water, bring to the boil again, then simmer, uncovered, for 30 mins.
4 Blend the soup to a coarse purée using a stick or stand blender, then push through a fine sieve into a clean pan, making sure you squeeze out as much juice as you can. Return the soup to the heat and add the saffron plus extra smoked paprika and Pernod, if you like.
5 Next add the potatoes (and conger eel, if using) and simmer for about 10 mins, or until cooked through. Portion the monkfish and add this, along with the remaining fish fillets, to the pan, then simmer for a further 2 mins.
6 Finally, add the squid (or cuttlefish) and the mussels; cook until the mussels have opened, discarding any that have stayed closed.

Serve with baguette croutons and rouille sauce.

Rouille sauce

There are probably as many versions of this popular Provençal sauce as there are cooks making it. The basic ingredients here are olive oil, roasted red pepper puree and garlic. Popular additions include breadcrumbs, cayenne pepper and saffron

Takes: 20 mins
Serves: 8-10 as a sauce for bouillabaisse

1 large (approx. 150g) waxy potato, baked or microwaved until soft
40g piquillo peppers, pureed in a food processor
1 crushed garlic clove
1 medium egg
250ml olive oil
Hot paprika, to taste
2 tsp saffron water (optional)


1 Make sure the potato is cool enough to handle comfortably, then scoop out the flesh. Mash it by hand with a fork and combine with the peppers.
2 In a jug, combine the garlic, egg and olive oil with a pinch of salt and blend with a hand blender to form a stiff mayonnaise.
3 Combine with the potato-pepper mixture and season to taste with paprika and the saffron water (optional). The water will make the mixture slightly runnier, but that's fine.

Follow @Bruno_Loubet

Published in Issue 2 of National Geographic Traveller Food

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