You can find tasty bouillabaisse all over southern France, but the best comes from Marseille, the lively seaport city on the Mediterranean coast. That’s where the rich, spicy seafood soup or stew originated, and the people of Marseille consider it their signature dish, part of their identity. In fact, the main recipe is considered so important it’s defined and protected by charter. Every restaurant has its own version, but the rules say a traditional bouillabaisse must have at least three kinds of fish, certain vegetables, and herbs and spices of Provence.
Nobody knows when the famous soup was first prepared. Legends say angels brought it to feed shipwrecked saints, or the goddess Venus prepared it to lull her husband to sleep so she could slip away to her lover, Mars. On a more pragmatic level, since Marseille has long been a fishing town, it’s likely that unsold fish was thriftily turned into a spicy stew with many variations. According to the noted chef Christian Buffa, there’s only one true, authentic version—la vrai bouillabaisse—and it’s served in his restaurant in Marseille, Le Miramar. This festive spot on the waterfront, with both indoor and outdoor dining, is always busy. Bouillabaisse is a popular dish, though it takes time to prepare and is one of the most expensive items on the menu. This is a meal to be shared with friends.
At Le Mirama, it’s served in classic fashion, in two courses. First to arrive at the table is a thick, rich soup, to be dolloped with garlic-rubbed croutons and a deep orange rouille. Then another bowl with more of the soup arrives, this one filled with seafood. It smells of onion, garlic, tomato, and freshly cooked fish, and it tastes as good as it looks. – Marilyn McFarlane, RFT Contributor
Want to taste true Marseille Bouillabaisse? Try is wonderful recipe.