Fisherman’s Soup with Flavors of Provence

While the menu at 98 Provence Bistro changes seasonally, this is one signature recipe that remains available year-round. It’s flexible—use your preferred combination of fish and seafood. Squid, clams, and other crustaceans can be used instead of the mussels, scallops, and shrimp. Serve with crusty baguette slices to soak up the sauce.


Adapted from Chef Pierre Gignac of 98 Provence Bistro.

3      tablespoons olive oil, divided
1      red bell pepper, diced
1      small fennel bulb, cored and diced
1      poblano chili pepper, diced
½     Spanish onion, diced
½     teaspoon fennel seeds
1      teaspoon grated orange zest
1      large pinch Spanish saffron
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Juice of ½ orange
4      large sea scallops
4      large shrimp
4      pieces firm-textured fish
24    mussels, well rinsed
½     cup chopped canned Italian tomatoes
6      cups chicken broth, warm
Handful fresh basil leaves
¼     cup Pernod

 1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add bell pepper, fennel, poblano pepper, and onion. Saute for 1 to 2 minutes, then stir in the fennel seeds, orange zest, saffron, salt, and black pepper. Continue to saute until vegetables are tender.

2. Deglaze the pan with the orange juice and continue to cook until slightly caramelized, about 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and set aside.

3. Season scallops, shrimp, and fish lightly with salt and pepper.

4. Heat a large saute pan and add remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add scallops, shrimp, and fish and sear on both sides for about 2 minutes. You may need to do this in batches; if so, return all seafood to the pan when it’s all seared. Add mussels.

5. Add reserved vegetables, tomatoes, chicken broth, basil leaves, and Pernod. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover and cook until mussels have opened. Remove any unopened mussels and discard. Ladle soup into shallow bowls and serve with slices of crusty baguette, if desired.

Makes 4 servings

Wine: Robert Mondavi Winery Fume Blanc Reserve, 2008 (Napa Valley, Calif.)

Beer: Hoegaarden Brewery Hoegaarden (Hoegaarden, Belgium)