A recipe from L’Auberge Chez FranÇois, Great Falls

Photo Courtesy of L’auberge Chez FranÇois



½ cup olive oil

½ cup each finely chopped onion, carrots, and leeks

/8 cup finely julienned celery

2 teaspoons minced shallots

½ cup chopped fresh tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

½ cup dry white wine

1 ½ cups fish stock

1 tablespoon sea salt (approximately)

1 bouquet garni consisting of ½ teaspoon fennel seed, ½ teaspoon anise seed, ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, 1 bay leaf, 1 clove, pinch of thyme and 2 cloves garlic crushed, wrapped in a cheesecloth

½ teaspoon saffron

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add the onions, leeks, celery and carrots and cook covered until tender, about 15 minutes, stirring often. Add the shallots, tomatoes, tomato paste, white wine, fish stock, salt and bouquet garni. Boil for approximately 25 minutes. Add the saffron and simmer 5 more minutes.


6 mussels

4 little neck clams

¼ pound sea scallops

single 1-pound Maine lobster

¼ pound raw shrimp (20-24 count)

4 ounces fish fillets (red snapper, sea bass, grouper)

4 oysters (optional)

2 teaspoons Pernod

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh fennel

½ teaspoon chopped garlic

While the broth is cooking, prepare the seafood. Clean the mussels individually in cold water, scraping off any clinging barnacles or “beards.” Discard any half-open shells or any unusually heavy ones, which indicate internal grit. Rinse the clams, oysters and scallops in cold water.

Using a sharp heavy knife, force the point of the blade through the top of the lobster head between the eyes. Then cut down through the center of the head and tail, splitting the lobster in half. Remove and discard the lobster head and the intestinal vein running down the center of the tail. Remove the claws and crack them with the blunt edge of the blade. Peel and devein the shrimp. Cut the fish fillets into 2- to 3-inch diagonal slices.

Add the mussels and clams to the boiling broth and simmer 5 minutes. Then add the lobster, shrimp, scallops and fish. Continue boiling until all the shellfish are open, approximately 5-8 more minutes. Do not overcook.

Remove from heat, adjust seasoning (more garlic or saffron according to taste), add Pernod and chopped fennel, and serve immediately in large warm soup platters. Garnish with garlic toasts.

Serves 6

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