There were two things that got me excited about this recipe. First, I got my hands on a large vile of vibrant orange saffron. I don’t usually have this ingredient in the house, and I’m not all that familiar with using it around the kitchen. But, I was thrilled to give it a shot. Second: For the first time since we arrived on the West Coast, I had gotten my hands on a large lobster!
This isn’t your traditional French Bouillabaisse. I know – Julia Child’s rehearsed and perfected French Bouillabaisse in her book, Mastering The Art of French Cooking. However, while you should never mess with perfection, I’m a firm believer that lobster can only improve a dish!
There are a couple of things I would adjust the next time I make this recipe (and they mostly involve following Julia’s advice). 1) Add more saffron! I would love a more radiant shade of orange in this stew. 2) Track down clams! I used mussels, lobster, cod, and shrimp to make this stew. However, including clams would be an amazing compliment to the existing shellfish. I’ll know for next time.
Recipe for Lobster Bouillabaisse:
- A 1.5 lbs Cooked Lobster
- ½ lbs of Mussels
- ½ lbs of Shrimp
- 2 Fillets of Cod
- Optional: 0.5 lbs of Clams
- 6 Cups of Water
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 12 Whole Black Peppercorns
- Peel from 1 Orange
- ½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Fresh Thyme
- 1 Teaspoon Fresh Marjoram
- ½ Teaspoon Saffron Threads
- ½ Teaspoon Ground Cayenne Pepper
- 1 Cup Dry White Wine
- 1 Fennel Bulb, Thinley Sliced
- 1 Small Onion, Diced
- 1 Leek, White Part Only, Washed and Sliced
- 4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
- 4 Tomatoes, skins, and seeds removed and diced
- 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Cheese Cloth
Instructions for Lobster French Bouillabaisse
1: Peel your shrimp and lobster. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add the shells from your shrimp and lobster to the water, along with orange peel, peppercorns, and bay leaf. Allow your water to simmer for about 30 minutes.
2: At the same time, preheat a pan over medium-low heat. Pour in olive oil, and saute your onions, garlic, leek, and fennel. When they are translucent in colour, pour in your white wine and diced tomato. Allow your pan to simmer until the wine is reduced by about 50%.
3: Carefully strain your fish stock through cheesecloth. Mix your clear broth with your sauteed fennel, onion, garlic, tomato, wine, and leek. Stir, and reduce heat to low.
4: Add your fresh herbs, saffron threads, cayenne pepper, and salt. Stir, and add in cod. Allow it to simmer for about 5-8 minutes. Add in your mussels and clams, and place a lid over the pot. Allow it to cook for about 2 minutes. Add your raw shrimp and cooked lobster meat, and allow to simmer for an additional 2 minutes.
Ladle and serve with fresh dill and additional saffron seeds.