Cook the onions and leeks slowly in the olive oil for 5 minutes without browning.
Stir in the tomatoes and garlic, and cook 5 minutes more.
- 2½ quarts water
- 6 parsley sprigs
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ tsp thyme or basil
- 1/8 tsp fennel
- 2 big pinches of saffron
- A 2-inch piece or ½ tsp dried orange peel
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 1 Tb salt (none if using clam juice)
- 3 to 4 lbs. fish heads, bones, and trimmings including shellfish remains; or, 1 quart clam juice and 1½ quarts of water, and no salt
Add the water, herbs, seasoning, and fish or clam juice to the kettle. Bring to boil, skim, and cook, uncovered, at the slow boil for 30 to 40 minutes. Strain, correct seasoning. Set aside, uncovered, until cool if you are not finishing the bouillabaisse immediately, then refrigerate.
Cooking the Bouillabaisse
- The soup base
- 6 to 8 lbs. assorted lean fish, and shellfish if you wish, selected and according to directions at beginning of recipe
Bring the soup base to a rapid boil in the kettle about 20 minutes before serving. Add lobsters, crabs, and firm-fleshed fish. Bring quickly back to the boil and boil rapidly, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Then add the tender-fleshed fish, and the clams, mussels, and scallops. Bring back to the boil again for 5 minutes. Do not overcook.
- A hot platter
- A soup tureen or soup casserole
- Rounds of toasted French bread
- 1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
Immediately lift out the fish and arrange on the platter. Carefully taste soup for seasoning, place 6 to 8 slices of bread in the tureen, and pour in the soup. Spoon a ladleful of soup over the fish, and sprinkle parsley over both fish and soup. Serve immediately.