Ask your fishmonger to scale the fish, remove the gills, remove the guts, fillet and skin the fish; then pack fillets in one bag and fish skin, frames, and heads (no gills or guts) in another bag (you’ll need them for the stock).

author: Helen Rennie source:


  • bouillabaisse fish stock

  • rouille


  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more as needed

  • White and pale green parts of 1 large leek, diced

  • 2 large fennel bulbs, diced

  • 1 red, yellow, or orange pepper, diced

  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced

  • pinch of saffron

  • 2x star anise

  • 14.5 can dice tomatoes

  • 2/3 cup dry white wine

  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream

  • Sliced baguette (or some other good bread)

  • olive oil for brushing the bread

  • 1 whole garlic clove for rubbing the toast

  • boneless fillets from 2 whole branzini, salted at least 30 min before cooking


  • have your rouille ready

  • start the fish stock. While it’s simmering, set a large pot over medium heat.

  • Add the oil, leeks, fennel, and peppers. Season generously with salt and cook stirring occasionally until tender and brown, about 15 minutes.

  • Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute.

  • Add the saffron, star anise, tomatoes, and wine. Bring to a boil.

  • Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

  • Strain the fish stock through a fine mesh sieve into the pot with veggies. Season to taste with salt.

  • Add the cream, bring to a simmer, and cook gently for 5 min.

  • Take off heat. The soup can be made up to this stage a day ahead.

  • When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 350F.

  • Brush the bread with olive oil and toast until crisp, 12-15 min.

  • While the bread is toasting, place the fish fillets into the turned off pot (the soup temp should be about 180F when the fish goes in – very hot, but not boiling). The fish should flake in 8-10 min. If it doesn’t, turn on the heat on very low until the fish flakes. Break up the fish.

  • Rub the toast all over with garlic.

  • Serve the soup topped with garlic toasts slathered with rouille.

↓ This is a component-based recipe. ↓

bouillabaisse fish stock


  • heads, bones, and skin from 2 whole branzini

  • green tops from 1 large leek

  • tops from 2 large fennel bulbs

  • 1 celery rib

  • a few sprigs of thyme

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns

  • 7 cups water


  • Put all the stock ingredients into a stock pot. Bring to a boil.

  • Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes.



  • pinch of saffron

  • 1 tsp lemon juice

  • 1 garlic clove, grated on a microplane zester

  • 1/2 cup mayo

  • pinch of cayenne

  • salt to taste


  • mix, salt to taste

  • refrigerate for at least 3 hours