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Bouillabaisse (French fish stew)

  • 175ml (6 fl oz) olive oil
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 3 tomatoes - peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 sprig fresh fennel
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 350g (12 oz) mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 2L (3 1/2 pints) boiling water
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2kg (5 lb) red mullet or seabass
  • 350g(12 oz) fresh prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, and add the onions, leeks, tomatoes and garlic. Cook and stir over a low heat for a few minutes until all vegetables are soft.
  • Stir in the fennel, thyme, bay leaf and grated orange zest. Add mussels and boiling water; stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Turn heat up to high, and boil for about 3 minutes to allow the oil and water to combine.
  • Add the rest of the fish and prawns; reduce the heat to medium. Continue cooking for 12 to 15 minutes, or until fish is cooked. The fish should be tender, but not falling apart.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning. Stir in saffron; serve immediately in warm bowls with bread.