2 SMALL whole snapper (gutted and scaled) Slice into as many pieces as you can, the head is the most important part
8-12 clams for the broth
8-12 mussels for the broth
12 mussels for serving the bouillabaisse
2 filets of snapper, skin on or off (you decide), cleaned of all bones
2 shallots, peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 large leeks, washed well, ends trimmed, cut in half lengthwise then into quarters and sliced ¼-thick (½ reserved for serving)
2 fennel bulbs, diced into ½-inch pieces (½ reserved for serving)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 cup white wine
¼ cup Pernod or Ricard
heavy pinch of saffron
½ teaspoon fennel seed
½ cup picked parsley leaves
orange rind (½-1 whole orange)
8 cups chicken stock/broth or water
1 baguette, sliced into ¾-inch thick rounds
olive oil for toasting
smoked paprika aioli (recipe below)
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large, high-sided pan with a large surface area.
Add the chopped up whole fish and heads caramelizing them all over.
Add the mussels and clams.
Add the shallots, garlic, and half of the fennel and leeks, constantly stirring.
After 3-4 minutes, add the tomato paste and stir until it covers all the ingredients.
Add the wine, reduce ¾ of the way, then add the Pernod or Ricard, reducing that ¾ of the way.
Add the saffron, fennel seed, parsley and orange rind.
Add the stock or water. Bring to a boil then reduce down to a simmer and cook for at least an hour or until the soup reduces about ½ of the way down. Remove the clams and mussels and puree the broth along with all the fish bones. Once the broth is pureed, strain though a fish mesh strainer that has been lined with cheese cloth.
When you are ready to finish and serve the bouillabaisse, heat up the broth in a large skillet over medium heat; taste for salt and add the reserved fennel and leeks; after 2 minutes add the fish and mussels to the pan. Spoon the broth constantly over the fish; as the mussels open, remove them and set them in a serving bowl; once the fish is fully cooked, carefully, using a fish spatula, if available, transfer it to the serving bowl.
Pour the broth right over the top and garnish with the croutons and aioli.
To prepare the baguette:
Arrange the sliced toast on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and toast in a preheat 400˚F oven until golden brown on both sides, about 12-15 minutes. Allow to cool, top with aioli and served alongside the bouillabaisse.
Smoked Paprika Aioli
½ cup mayonnaise
½ teaspoon Chinata smoked paprika
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt