A quick garlic aïoli acts as a thickening agent for a smooth, luxurious broth in this Provençal fisherman’s stew from the coastal city of Marseilles.

Bourride is a near cousin to the bouillabaisse, that classic French seafood stew consisting of a diverse combination of the day’s catch in a flavorful stock made from a finned fish base. What distinguishes bourride is the addition of a quick-and-easy, garlicky aïoli that thickens the broth and gently coats the palate as it carries the developed flavors in a luscious mouthfeel.

The essence of this dish is the broth, traditionally made with a fish stock but equally achievable with a good vegetable broth. (Avoid the heavier, fattier nature of even a light chicken stock as it will dominate the seafood elements.) Flavors are built with leeks, fennel seed and dry white wine, and the solids are strained out before adding a mix of firm-fleshed fish and shellfish. Mediterranean monkfish is traditional but any choice of fresh catch will do — just eschew flaky whitefish that will disintegrate in the broth.

The accompanying aïoli could not be simpler, prepared almost instantly with the blender method. The French place a garlic-rubbed toast in each bowl and remove the fish just before it is fully cooked, distributing the seafood among the guests before filling each dish with the reserved broth.

Feel free to vary the seafood according to the freshest available, and serve with crusty bread to soak up every last bit.


1 lb halibut
½ lb shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1 tomato
1 onion
1 leek
1 clove of garlic
2 c vegetable stock
1 c white wine
½ t fennel seeds
¼ t cayenne
1 T parsley
bay leaf
olive oil
black pepper

For the aioli:
1 egg yolk (room temperature)
1 clove of garlic
2 t lemon juice
½ c olive oil

1 Roughly chop the tomato, onion, leek and garlic. Cook in the oil over medium heat until soft, about 15 min.

2 Add the fennel seed, cayenne and bay leaf and stir to combine.

3 Add the wine, stock and 2 c water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 12-15 min.

4 Make the aïoli: Combine the yolk, garlic, lemon juice and salt in a blender. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the oil until an emulsion forms.

5 Strain the broth and return to a clean pot over medium heat. Whisk in the aïoli and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 min.

6 Add the seafood, parsley and a heavy pinch of saffron, and season to taste. Cook until the fish and shrimp are just done, about 2-3 min.


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