Provincial French seafood stew, with tomato and fennel, thickened with a potato, garlic and chilli rouille. This dish is delicious served with French baguette and a glass of dry white wine.

Serves 2

Prep time for broth and rouille: 1hr

Cooking and time to serve: 10mins

Difficulty to cook: difficult


100g cod or similar white fish, skin removed, cut into chunks

4 tiger prawns or langoustine

A handful of mussels, scrubbed, barnacles removed

1/2 white onion, finely diced

2 celery sticks, finely diced

1/2 fennel, finely diced

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1/2 tsp fennel seeds

1tsp dried, chopped thyme

4 tomatoes (large ripe beef tomatoes if you can find them)

1 red pepper

50g black olives, roughly chopped

2tsp saffron

1 bay leaf

100ml dry white wine (Chardonnay is perfect. Choose a wine you like to drink so you can enjoy a glass later with your meal)

olive oil

small bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped, with extra to serve

salt, pepper

500ml fish stock

1 medium sized potato

1/4 red chilli, finely diced (add more if you like chilli)

1 egg yolk

1 lemon, sliced

1 small French baguette


Bring a saucepan of water to boil. Prepare a colander in the sink. Blanche the tomatoes and red pepper in the boiling water for 30 seconds, remove with a slotted spoon and cool under a cold running tap. The skins should now peel off easily. If they don’t, blanche for a further 30 seconds. Remove the seeds and cores and discard these. Dice the flesh and save the juice.

Peel and roughly dice the potato. Place in a pan on the stove, add cold water until the potato is submerged, add a good pinch of salt and boil until soft, for aprox. 20 mins.

Make the broth. Place a large, lidded pan on the stove and add the fennel seeds. Toast on a medium heat for 1 min, being careful not to burn them (they will taste very bitter).

Turn down the heat and add a glug of olive oil, the diced onion, celery, fennel and dried thyme. Add a splash of water, stir, and leave to soften for 10 mins. If necessary, stir and/or turn down the heat to stop anything browning or sticking to the pan.

Add 2 cloves of crushed garlic, stir, and cook for another 2 mins.

Add the red pepper, tomato, olives, saffron and bay leaf. Turn up the heat, stirring for 2 mins. Add some more water if the mixture is dry.

Add 100ml white wine. Let it bubble and reduce for a 2mins before adding the fish stock. Bring to a gentle simmer.

While the fish broth is simmering away, make your rouille. Your potato should by now be cooked through and soft. To check this, poke it with a fork. Drain the water away and place the potato in a mixing bowl. Add the egg yolk, remaining crushed garlic and diced chilli. While it is still hot, stir vigorously for 1 min while the egg cooks and binds the mixture. Now slowly mix and mash in enough olive oil to create a thick Mayonnaise-like consistency.

Add a spoonful of rouille to the broth, whisking it in so that the broth thickens. Add some of the freshly chopped parsley. Taste the broth to check if it needs more rouille, salt and pepper.

Lower the heat and add the fish and shellfish to the broth. Place the lid on the pan and let it gently steam cook for 5-10mins, taking care not to overcook the fish.

Serve immediately into large, shallow bowls and garnish with extra parsley and lemon slices. Enjoy with fresh French bread and a dry white wine