Fish stew with rouille sauce

Fish stew with rouille sauce

Margaret Fulton Favourites
Tanya Zouev and Armelle Habib

I first tried a fish stew in Marseilles many years ago, when I was introduced to bouillabaisse — the famous dish originally made by fishermen from the Mediterranean. Some fishermen are good cooks and each coastal fishing village has their own way of preparing dishes from a mixed catch. Fish is important to our daily diet and therefore I highly recommend this simple fish stew. However, take care — fish may be easy to cook, but it is also easy to spoil if you overcook it.


Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 celery stalk
or 1/2 fennel bulb, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
a large pinch saffron threads
4 ripe tomatoes, diced
2 cups water
3/4 cup dry white wine
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1.5kg fresh, uncooked seafood such as fish cutlets and fillets, mussels, prawns or scallops
a little lemon juice
freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish

Rouille sauce

Quantity Ingredient
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup pimientos, well drained
2 egg yolks
A pinch saffron threads
3/4 cup olive oil


  1. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan and sauté the onion gently until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the celery or fennel, garlic and saffron, stir for a minute and add the tomatoes. Cook, stirring, until thick and pulpy. Add the water, wine, salt and pepper to taste and simmer gently for about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the prepared seafood and cook gently. When the fish is tender and whitened, the prawns pink and the mussels opened, the seafood is cooked. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary. A little lemon juice to taste can be squeezed over at this point.
  3. To make the rouille sauce, add the garlic, pimientos, egg yolks and saffron to a blender or food processor. Purée until smooth, and then with the machine running add the olive oil, drop by drop at first, then more quickly as the sauce thickens.
  4. To serve, ladle the stew into 4 bowls and garnish with chopped parsley. Have a basket of crusty bread on the table and hand around the bowl of rouille for each guest to add a spoonful to their stew as desired.
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