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Jacques Sorci

Executive chef at The Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park

Sorci’s bouillabaisse is all tradition, including several classic Mediterranean ingredients. He turns fish heads through a food mill to produce a hearty broth. The soup also requires market-fresh fennel, tomatoes, potatoes and Old World time and patience.

Serves 5
  • 2500 grams of whole fish
  • (sea bass, snapper, monkfish)
  • 200 grams head on shrimp (optional)
  • 200 grams little neck clams (optional)
  • 1 cup Pastis
  • Olive oil

Fish stock
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 celery, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 0.5 ounces crushed white peppers

  • 1 baguette
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil

  • 100 grams Spanish onions, peeled and chopped
  • 100 grams leeks
  • 100 grams plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and quartered
  • 75 grams fennel, cut
  • 10 grams garlic, crushed
  • 3 grams saffron
  • 2 grams star anise
  • 2 grams coriander, chopped

  • 2 eggs
  • 25 potatoes, baked
  • 10 milliliters extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 gram saffron
  • Sea salt
Cooking Instructions

Clean and scale fish. Cut into 2.5-ounce pieces (leaving bone on when possible). Rub them with sea salt, saffron and chopped flat parsley leaves. Drizzle with olive oil and Pastis. Arrange them in a pan and store in refrigerator.

To prepare the fish stock, cut all fish bones and heads into rough pieces. In a very hot sauce pot, pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sauté the bones. Add 2 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Skim the cooking foam and add onions, celery, bay leaves and crushed white peppers. Cook gently for 15 minutes, and strain through a china cap.

In a soup pot, heat a drop of olive oil, and add onions. Then, add leeks, fennel and garlic. Cook all the vegetables until they are caramelized. Add fish stock and bring to a boil. Add saffron, star anise and coriander. Stir, then add tomatoes. Simmer gently for 35 minutes, and run through a food mill with coarse holes.

To prepare the rouille, peel and mash baked potatoes in a bowl. Add egg yolks and crushed garlic, and emulsify the olive oil. Add saffron and sea salt, mix and rest in a small serving bowl.

Cut the baguette into thick slices. Rub with garlic, drizzle olive oil and toast under the broiler until golden brown. In a cooking pan, place the marinated fish, and add mussels, clams and shell-on shrimp, if desired. Pour enough fish soup to cover and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve the fish on a platter and the soup in a terrine, with rouille and bread on the side.