When I visited Toulon market, I was stunned by the range of fish available, but back home in Ireland, it’s very hard to find all those little fish, so I’m going to spare you the bother and make a soup, somewhere between a stew and a broth.


  • 500g white fish, such as pollock, hake or coley

  • 200g mussels

  • Olive oil

  • Three cloves of garlic

  • One stick of celery

  • Two carrots

  • One large onion

  • A good pinch of saffron

  • One tin of tomatoes

  • Wine glass of white wine

  • 5 cups of fish stock


  • 1.

    Pour some olive oil in the pan and heat well.

  • 2.

    Chop and add three cloves of garlic along with celery, carrots and onions, chopped finely. (When vegetables are chopped this finely in France, they’re called a called a mirepois and that’s the basis of many very tasty sauces.)

  • 3.

    We want all this to sweat together.

  • 4.

    Throw in some thyme and some rosemary.

  • 5.

    Let the vegetables cook gently for about fifteen or twenty minutes until they are really soft.

  • 6.

    Add a good pinch of saffron, a very important ingredient of a real bouillabaisse and give it all a good stir.

  • 7.

    When the vegetables are nice and soft, we are going to deglaze with a little white wine. And then carefully pour this into a saucepan, and that goes back on the heat and in goes about four or five ladles of fish stock and a tin tomatoes.

  • 8.

    That’s going to simmer on a low heat for about forty minutes and then we’ll put the fish in at the end. I’m keeping it simple with just some white fish and mussels.

  • 9.

    Make sure you de-beard the mussels and discard any that don't open. Add the fish and a few minutes later add the mussles. Just let it simmer for about three minutes until the mussels open and the fish is poached.

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