Our Favorite Fish Stew Recipes, From Bouillabaisse to Cioppino
The idea behind both bouillabaisse and cioppino is to use the fisherman's catch of the day—whatever fish looks fresh and is plentiful should be added to the stew. These two famed fish stews orginated in Marseille, France, and San Francisco, California, respectively. While bouillabaisse is all French, cioppino is an Italian-American dish brought to the U.S. by Italian immigrants.
The key to these stews is using the freshest fish. Historically, cooks would meet the fisherman on the dock and choose whatever looked good for their bouillabaisse or cioppino that day. These recipes typically call for a combination of flaky white fish like red snapper or sea bass and bivalves like mussels and clams, but lobster can also be added if you're hoping to go the extra mile. The base for the delicate broth can vary, but traditional versions rely on tomatoes, a vegetable mirepoix (celery, onions, and carrots), fish bones, white wine, and fennel for flavor. In addition to an abundance of seafood, vegetables may be added. If you choose to do so, use hearty, seasonal produce (new potatoes yes, baby green peas not so much).
Our recipes include both cioppino and bouillabaisse, as well as variations on the two. Some, like Cioppino (Seafood Stew) and Bouillabaisse with Lobster, follow the traditional methods. Their longer prep time and lengthy ingredient list is well worth the effort if you want to cook like a pro. Other recipes, such as Fish Stew with Herbed Toasts and Italian Seafood Stew, include a few short cuts and are ideal for weeknight dinners when you want to get a delicious, satisfying meal on the table in under 30 minutes.
Cioppino (Seafood Stew)
Fish Stew with Herbed Toasts
Black Bass Bouillabaisse with Trofie Pasta
Traditional bouillabaisse is made sans pasta, but we love the hearty edge that adding it brings to this spectacular stew. Both the presentation and flavor of this dish are worthy of a Michelin-star—the saffron creates floral notes and gives the broth a vibrant yellow hue.
Smoky Salmon-and-Potato Stew
There's just one kind of seafood—omega-3 rich salmon—in this stew instead of a kaleidoscope of fillets and bivalves as many other versions feature. It's a great, slightly different way to enjoy everyone's favorite fish and a good introduction to seafood stew for anyone put off by the mix of fish and shellfish in other recipes.
Seafood in Fennel Broth
Italian Seafood Stew
Serve this quick fish stew year-round: It's light and fresh enough for summer, but comforting enough to enjoy in winter, too. The best part is that it comes together in just 25 minutes.
Bouillabaisse with Lobster
Make this show-stopping recipe when you want to go all out. To cut down on prep time, make the broth in advance and refrigerate for three days, or freeze for longer.