Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Actually, it isn't really all that pretentious. It just sounds fancier than it actually is. If you strip Bouillaibaisse down to it's bare essentials, it's just a variety of seafood cooked out in a tomato broth. Add some vegetables and a potato to it and you have a complete meal. That's it! Pretty simple, huh?

Last week my son, Garret turned 10 and we celebrated his birthday at my house by spoiling him as usual. He asked me to make a lobster dinner for him, so I did. This was his first lobster dinner. It turned out that he didn't like lobster. Expensive mistake I know, but I want my kids to experience the things that grab them and I'll comply with their wishes whenever I can.

Anyway, I had the shells of three lobsters left over from the dinner that I used to make a stock for a Boiullaibaisse. As you can see from the photo below, I threw the shells in a pot with some onion, garlic, celery, carrot, anise, paprika, white wine, lemons and water. I cooked this out until the perfume permeated the house and the stock was quite flavorful.

I must apologize for not taking as many shots of the process as I normally would, but I was enjoying some wine at the time and I managed to get side tracked.

I added some crushed tomatoes to the stock as well as some sea salt and pepper to season. I cooked this out for a while and then strained the stock into another pot. I returned it to the burner and brought it back to the boil.

After the stock hit the boil, I added carrots, potato and leek. I cooked this out until the potato and carrots were tender. Then I added the seafood.

As you can see, I added prawns, scallops, salmon, talapia and mussels. I cooked the stew out a little longer until the seafood was just cooked and then I served it immediately.

As you can see, there is a ton of seafood swimming in a rich, flavorful tomato and anise scented broth.

This type of seafood stew can be made with any variety of seafood you happen to fancy. I added what I like. And you don't need to start with lobster shells either. You can start with fish stock and tomatoes, or for that matter, straight tomato juice with aromatics and fish boned added to flavor it. The important thing to remember is that you must have the stock to a point where you are satisfied with the intensity of flavor it has before you add the seafood because the seafood is cooked just briefly and won't infuse much flavor into the broth.

By adding a crust of bread and perhaps a salad, you have a meal fit for a king, or even a seafood loving birthday boy!!

I love you Garret!!! Happy Birthday!! XOXOXOXOXO. I love you Kaitlin also!!!!!!!!!


Expressions by MBG said...

WOW .... looks ABSOLUTELY DELECTIBLE ... the photos are AMAZING ... great job displaying the food and explaining the "details" ... Thank you for sharing ...

Perhaps one day soon we can all enjoy something like this together!


Anonymous said...

I just made this and it was sooo good I can't wait to make it again. I followed your advice about the leftover lobster shells, i've never done that before but what a treat. My husband did add a little cream to it to finish it which turned out lovely.

Needless to say, this will be a staple at our house if we want to impress.
Jennifer and Matt B.

Livingston Cooks said...

Wow Jennifer...I'm glad you tried the bouillaibaisse. It isn't really that difficult, is it? Essentially it amounts to nothing more than a variety of seafood simmered off in a flavorful tomato based broth. Classically the broth is flavored with Pernod or saffron, but you can play around with it. Just stick to traditional flavor combinations unless you're feeling sort of...adventurous.

Happy cooking!


Anonymous said...

Hi Marko!

Jennifer here, when we made the bouillaibaisse we didn't use Pernod or Saffron but I'm dying to see what that tastes like. we just white wine. I will try the Pernod next time. thansk again.

Livingston Cooks said...

Hi Jennifer:

Pernod is my personal choice for this dish. It adds a licorice flavor to the tomato broth which goes very well with it. It's classic actually, and the classics are classic for a reason: they work!!

Anyway...saffron is an additive that will take it off in another direction, but don't combine it with Pernod.

If you don't have Pernod, add some anise seed. Same deal.


Livingston Cooks said...

And to all of you who cook: save all of your shrimp shells in the freezer for when you want to make a bisque or a Bouillaibaisse.

Anonymous said...

Picked this up on foodbuzz....i see that you packed a lot of seafood in thsi dish, very well done.

Anonymous said...

yes, it has been buzzed on foodbuzz, i noticed it too. haven't tried it yet but looks interesting

Livingston Cooks said...

Thank you very much....

Anonymous said...

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