Skip to content
Open menu Close menu

Feed your appetite for cooking with Penguin’s expert authors

penguin logo

Mary Berry’s Bouillabaisse

Master the perfect Bouillabaisse with Mary Berry's recipe from her BBC series, Classic, and transport yourself to a summer's day in the South of France.

From the book

Mary Berry


Bouillabaisse was originally a stew made by Marseilles fishermen using the bony rockfish which they were unable to sell to restaurants or markets. We now use fish of our choice. Using traditional flavours and serving it with a rouille makes it a classic bouillabaisse. Use sustainable fish. Rich and tasty fish soup, with garlicky rouille enhancing the flavour.

Read more Read less


2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 rounded tbsp tomato purée
100ml (3½fl oz) white wine
750ml (1 pint 6fl oz) fish stock
6 large tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and chopped
a good pinch of saffron strands
1 small bunch of basil, stalks tied together and leaves shredded
finely grated zest of 1 small orange and juice of ½ orange
1kg (2lb 3oz) mussels, cleaned and debearded (see tip)
2 seabass fillets, skinned and cut into 5 slices
350g (12oz) cod, skinned and cut into slices 1.5cm (⅝in) thick
200g (7oz) peeled cooked crayfish tails, shells removed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the rouille:
6 rounded tbsp full-fat mayonnaise
1 large garlic clove, crushed
a pinch of saffron strands soaked in the juice of ½ small lemon

Essential kit

You will need: a hand blender.


1. Heat the oil in a large deep saucepan. Add the onions and fennel and sauté over a medium heat for 5 minutes until starting to soften. Add the garlic and tomato purée and stir for 30 seconds. Pour in the wine and stock and add the tomatoes. Bring to the boil, then add the saffron, basil stalks and orange zest, cover with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes.

2. Add the mussels and stir them into the pan. Cover again with the lid, bring back up to the boil and cook for about 4 minutes until all of the mussels have opened. Take the pan off the heat and use a slotted spoon to carefully scoop the cooked mussels in their shells into a bowl, making sure you haven’t left any in the pan. Leave to cool for a few minutes while you blend the soup.

3. Discard the basil stalks and blend the soup until completely smooth – this is easiest with a hand blender. Simmer the soup, uncovered, for 10 minutes to reduce (you should have about 2 litres/2 pints 2fl oz in total at this point).

4. Meanwhile, make the rouille. Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl, season with salt and pepper and set aside.

5. When the mussels are cool enough to handle, reserve 18 mussels in their shells, then remove the remaining mussels from their shells and place in another small bowl.

6. Season the soup with salt and pepper and add the orange juice. Add the seabass and cod, cover again and gently simmer for 3–4 minutes, then add the cooked mussels, the reserved mussels in their shells and the crayfish tails and simmer for another 2–3 minutes until heated through and all of the fish is cooked.

7. Divide the bouillabaisse between bowls, spoon some of the rouille into each bowl, sprinkle with the shredded basil leaves and serve.

Mary's Classic Tip: Give the mussels a good scrub and a couple of rinses before cooking as the shells are an integral part of the sauce and you want as little grit in there as possible. Discard any shells that remain open when tapped and, once cooked, discard any that remained closed and didn't open in the stew.

Please note: Moderation is enabled and may delay your comment being posted. There is no need to resubmit your comment. By posting a comment you are agreeing to the website Terms of Use.


Subscribe to The Happy Foodie email newsletter

Get our latest recipes, features, book news and ebook deals straight to your inbox every week

From the book: Classic by Mary Berry

Close menu