Bouillabaisse vs Rockfish Soup: Mediterranean Delights

Welcome to a gustatory journey where Mediterranean flavors take center stage.

In this article, we will delve into the culinary universe of the Marseille region by comparing two jewels of its cuisine: bouillabaisse and rockfish soup.

1. History of Marseille Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse, a Mediterranean culinary treasure, has its origins in ancient Greece, before taking up residence in Marseille in the early 6th century BC.

This ancestral recipe, resembling a fish stew, emerged as a soup for fishermen, humbly named "poor man's soup."

Marseille fishermen, returning from their small fishing trips in the coves between Marseille and Toulon, used unsellable rockfish or those left at the bottom of their baskets.

The Iconic Fish and Ingredients of Bouillabaisse

The traditional Marseille bouillabaisse is defined by a careful selection of at least 4 species among the following: scorpionfish, anglerfish (monkfish), white scorpionfish, conger eel, spider crab, scorpionfish (optional), John Dory, mantis shrimp, and lobster.

This diversity allows adjusting the recipe according to the catch and the number of diners, but the immutable criterion remains the extreme freshness of the fish, an essential condition for the success of bouillabaisse.

Key Ingredients and Authentic Recipe

Characteristic ingredients such as salt, pepper, saffron, olive oil, garlic, onions, fennel, parsley, potatoes, and tomatoes harmonize in an incomparable gustatory symphony.

The preparation begins with a high heat browning step of onion, garlic, and tomatoes in olive oil.

The cleaned and chopped soup fish are then added, creating a creamy paste after about 15 minutes of cooking.

The broth takes shape with the addition of boiling water, then boiling for at least 1 hour.

Fennel, parsley, salt, and pepper take the stage, followed by a passage through the mill and then through a sieve.

Raw potatoes and main fish such as scorpionfish, John Dory, conger eel, and anglerfish join the feast and cook together for 20 minutes.

Just before serving, the mantis shrimp and spider crabs make their appearance.

At the end of cooking, the fish and potatoes are delicately removed, salted, peppered, saffroned, and arranged on serving dishes.

Bouillabaisse can be accompanied by traditional aioli flavored with saffron and hot pepper, or an alternative based on potatoes and chili for an equally delicious culinary experience.

2. History of Rockfish Soup

Fish soup dates back at least to Gallic cuisine and the diet of the Phocaeans in ancient Greece at the beginning of Antiquity, particularly the bouillabaisse of the fishermen from the fish market of the Old Port of Marseille, from ancient Marseille.

In coastal countries of the northern Mediterranean Sea (Spain, France, Italy, Croatia), fish soup is traditionally cooked with rockfish (or "discard fish," too small to be sold), onions, milk or cream, white wine, olive oil, saffron, and possibly with vegetables like the Sète-style fish soup.

As rockfish are usually full of bones, they need to be cooked and then passed through a sieve or a strainer.

Among the rockfish commonly used for fish soup are red scorpionfish, red mullet, spider crab, John Dory, conger eel (felas), gilt-head bream, royal bream, whiting, anglerfish (monkfish), tub gurnard (grey gurnard), red mullet (striped red mullet), black sea bream, painted comber, striped red mullet, black-faced blenny, brown meagre, topknot, salema, needlefish, etc.

On the French and Italian Mediterranean coasts, the "poor man's soup" is made from a broth made with shellfish and seafood picked from the rocks: usually a few green crabs and a few mussels.

Here is an example of rockfish soup marketed by Les Délices de l'Olivier:

Lou Ferrignade 765 ml Rockfish Soup

Rockfish soup is an essential delight, brimming with Mediterranean flavors and marine freshness.

Prepared according to the recipe of the Gulf fishermen, this superior quality fish soup is a true pleasure to enjoy with family or friends.

An Authentic Broth, Ideal for Your Culinary Creations

Ferrigno house's rockfish soup is made from pressed rockfish, offering a rich and fragrant broth.

This delicious liquid can be used to enhance your pasta dishes or poured hot over toasted bread croutons, rubbed with garlic, for an incomparable gustatory experience.

Accompany Your Rockfish Soup with Tasty Accompaniments

For a complete culinary experience, accompany this rockfish soup with crispy croutons, tasty rouille, and a touch of homemade aioli.

Let yourself be carried away by the unique aromas of the Mediterranean and enjoy a memorable meal in simplicity.


Rockfish 43%, Water, Vegetables (onions, leeks), Tomato concentrate, Modified corn starch, Extra virgin olive oil, Rapeseed oil, Salt, Aromatic herbs and spices including saffron.

Conclusion: Mediterranean Delights

In this exploration of Mediterranean flavors, bouillabaisse and rockfish soup emerge as culinary jewels, each carrying its history, carefully selected ingredient palette, and traditional preparation method.

Bouillabaisse, a legacy of ancient Greece adopted by Marseille, offers a unique gustatory experience with its iconic fish, Mediterranean herbs, and flavorful broth.

Respecting the tradition of fishermen, it comes in endless variations, but one rule persists: uncompromising freshness of fish.

On the other hand, rockfish soup, a Gallic culinary testimony infused with influences from ancient Greece, offers an immersion into Mediterranean waters with rockfish expertly paired with spices, vegetables, and herbs.

Passionately marketed by Les Délices de l'Olivier, this soup embodies the authenticity of marine flavors.

Whether you delve into the rich heritage of bouillabaisse or succumb to the delights of rockfish soup, each bite transports you to the sunny shores of the Mediterranean.

These two culinary treasures, though distinct, converge towards a common conclusion: a celebration of authentic flavors and an invitation to savor life the Mediterranean way.