This variation on steamed mussels draws inspiration from a classic French bouillabaisse flavored with fennel, saffron, and tomatoes. It cooks up in fifteen minutes and produces plenty of briny broth for bread-dipping.
'bouillabaisse' on Serious Eats
I've gone on record as saying that mussels are the easiest choose-your-own-adventure one-pot meal around, and I intend to prove it to you. This version uses my standard steamed mussel technique and combines it with the classic flavors of a French bouillabaisse. Fennel, saffron, and tomatoes are cooked together with a little pastis and orange zest to form an aromatic, briny broth for dipping bread into.
Bouillabaisse is a classic southern French seafood stew flavored with tomatoes, saffron, and fennel, served with a garlicky mayonnaise-like sauce. Could we make these flavors work with chicken and cut the cooking time down to under half an hour, start to finish?
I wrote a few weeks ago in my French in a Flash column that two great ladies came out of Marseille: my mother, and Bouillabaisse. We had been in the South for two weeks, and I had had plenty of time with the former. We took boat tours through the Calanques together, climbed the steep stone steps to Les Baux, and negotiated the pebbly shores of Cassis. I can never quite have my fill of maman, but I had not even so much as had a taste of bouillabaisse. I had been saving the (second to) best for last, and I had made a reservation for our last night. The locals in Cassis, a short half-hour journey in a...
Bouillabaisse is a fish stew from the port city of Marseille (where my mother was born), flavored and stained with saffron. It is hearty but light, exotic but comforting, all at once.