Alabama Bouillabaisse

Alabama Bouillabaisse

Main Course 

  • 5

    serves

  • Very easy

    Difficulty

Ingredients

  • Seafood Broth:
  • 12 head-on large hoppers (or large pink shrimp)
  • 12 snapper jowls
  • 6 long, thin strips of orange peel, white pith removed1 small leek, cut in half and sliced into 1/2-inch thick pieces
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and roughly chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, crushed
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 cups roughly chopped fennel fronds
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 12 long basil stems, leaves removed
  • 2 quarts vegetable stock
  • 2 teaspoons toasted and ground Spanish saffron
  • Bouillabaisse:
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup minced shallots, about 3 shallots
  • 3 tablespoon finely chopped garlic, about 4 large cloves
  • 8 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 cups cored and thinly sliced fennel bulbs, about 1 bulb
  • 2 cups peeled and thinly sliced carrots, about 2 small carrots
  • 2 cups trimmed and diced celery stalks, about 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 2 cups halved and sliced leeks, about 1/2-inch thick pieces
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 long, thin strips orange peel, white pith removed
  • 12 littleneck clams, scrubbed
  • 6 Roma tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and quartered
  • 12 (1-ounce) pieces black grouper fillet
  • 4 large stone crab claws, cracked (optional)
  • 6 (2-ounce) pieces of bone-in triggerfish
  • 2 tablespoons minced fennel fronds
  • 1 cup finely chopped basil leaves
  • 1 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 6 fried soft shell crabs (optional)
  • 12 slices grilled sourdough
  • Rouille

Preparation

To Prepare the Seafood Broth:

Peel the shrimp, leaving the heads and last tail segment intact. Set the shrimp aside to use for the bouillabaisse and reserve the shells.

Combine the shrimp shells, and 6 small strips of orange zest and the next 10 ingredients (leek through vegetable stock) in a large, stainless steel saucepan. Bring the broth to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to low and simmer the stock for 40 minutes. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding the solids. Stir in the saffron and set the broth aside until ready to use.

To Prepare the Bouillabaisse:

Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter and 6 tablespoons of the extra-virgin olive oil in a Dutch oven. Add the shallots, garlic, and thyme and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes; do not allow the vegetables to brown. Stir in the sliced fennel, carrots, celery, and leeks. Season the vegetables with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Add the bay leaves and orange peels and continue cooking for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Add the clams and tomato quarters, cover, and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the reserved seafood broth, increase the heat to high, cover and cook for 3 more minutes. Stir in the shrimp, grouper pieces, stone crab claws (if using) snapper jowls and bone-in triggerfish, cover and cook for a few minutes.

Remove the lid and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, remaining 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, chopped fennel fronds, basil, and parsley. Season the liquid with the remaining teaspoon of salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.

Arrange the seafood and vegetables attractively in 12 wide soup bowls and ladle about 1/2 cup of the broth in each bowl (enough to come three-fourths of the way up the sides of the bowls.) Top each bowl with 1/2 fried soft shell crab (if using) and 1 grilled sourdough crouton smeared with several tablespoons of rouille. Serve immediately.