Traditionally, bouillabaisse was made by cooking pieces of white fish in a broth of tomatoes, oil, garlic, saffron and herbs, but it is now common to include shellfish as well. Bouillabaisse was once a humble affair, made by French fishermen on their boats as a way to use up fish that weren’t suitable for market. The soup and the fish can be served separately, the soup followed by the fish, but it is more usual to see them eaten together.
A good bouillabaisse is said to include at least seven different types of fish, and debate still takes place over which varieties are best to use. The people of Marseilles, the home of the bouillabaisse, consider the strong-tasting racasse to be the quintessential element. You can use any seafood combination to make the soup. Use the shellfish and fish as suggested in the recipe or add shellfish such as crab (pictured) — whatever seafood is freshest and in season.
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