Low Country Bouillabaisse Recipe

bouillabaisse recipe

A bouillabaisse recipe that’ll make you a minor celebrity in your kitchen.

“This recipe is our version of Frogmore Stew, which is a traditional shrimp boil indigenous to John’s Island, South Carolina, just south of Charleston. Traditionally, shrimp, smoked sausage, potatoes, and corn are boiled with bay leaves in water and served family style. For Mama’s Boy, we jazzed it up a bit by adding  additional locally caught shellfish and fish,  fresh herbs, and steaming in an aromatic stock made from the shells of the shrimp.”  —Greer Fredericks

Serves 6


1 pound uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined, shells reserved

Shrimp Stock:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 small carrot, coarsely chopped
1 celery rib, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
1/2 cup white wine
5 cups water


1 pound red-skinned potatoes, quartered and roasted
3 tablespoons olive oil, or as needed, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 ears fresh corn
1 pound littleneck clams, scrubbed
1 pound mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1/2 pound lean, white-fleshed fish fillets, such as red snapper or cod, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 pound smoked sausage, such as Andouille, cut into 1/4-inch rounds
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
6 slices crusty bread, toasted


  1. To make the shrimp stock: Heat the oil in a 14-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the reserved shrimp shells and cook, stirring often, until the shells turn opaque, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, and paprika and stir until well combined. Add the wine and bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat until the liquid is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add the water, bring to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes. Strain the stock into a saucepan, discarding any solids, and reserve.
  2. To make the roasted potatoes: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the potatoes in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and toss until the potatoes are well coated. Transfer the potatoes to a sheet pan in one layer. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast, stirring occasionally, until fork-tender, about 45 minutes. Set aside for the bouillabaisse.
  3. Cook the corn in the microwave on high for 2 minutes. When cool enough to handle, cut into 1-inch rounds. Set aside.
  4. Reheat the reserved stock in saucepan until hot. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium-size stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the clams, cover, and cook, shaking the pot occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add the mussels, cover, and cook, shaking the pot occasionally, for 3 minutes. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Add the hot stock, fish, shrimp, sausage, roasted potatoes, and butter and bring to a simmer. Add the corn and parsley, cover, and steam over medium-high heat until the shellfish open and the shrimp are opaque throughout, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Discard any shells that do not open.
  5. Divide the fish mixture evenly among six large bowls, ladle over the broth, and serve with crusty bread.

Reprinted with permission from “The Connecticut Farm Table Cookbook“, by Christy Colasurdo and Tracey Medeiros, The Countryman Press 2015

Photo by Oliver Parini, reprinted with permission from The Connecticut Farm Table Cookbook, The Countryman Press 2015

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