New England Bouillabaisse for One

This New England bouillabaisse for one, made with mussels, clams, and fish, in a tomato fish broth, is a quick and easy riff on the classic French fish stew that sacrifices nothing in terms of soulfulness.

This New England bouillabaisse for one ensures you’re able to partake of a proper seafood dinner on any given evening without a tremendous investment of time or ingredients. It assumes you have a good fish stock in your freezer (or that you have access to at your seafood counter or specialty store freezer aisle). If not, the author, the venerable Judith Jones, suggests you make this after a supper of lobster or steamed mussels and have some of that intense lobster or mussel broth left. You can also use bottled clam juice diluted by half with water.–Renee Schettler Rossi


New England Bouillabaisse for One

A close up of a white bowl filled with New England bouillabaisse for one.
This New England bouillabaisse for one, made with mussels, clams, and fish, in a tomato fish broth, is a quick and easy riff on the classic French fish stew that sacrifices nothing in terms of soulfulness.
Judith Jones

Prep 10 mins
Cook 20 mins
Total 30 mins
New England
1 servings
5 from 1 vote
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  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 garlic clove peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium tomato chopped
  • 2 cups fish broth (see headnote above the recipe)
  • A few flat-leaf parsley stems
  • Pinch of fennel seeds
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 4 or 5 small clams
  • 1 dozen mussels
  • A piece about 4 oz of freshly cooked or leftover cooked fish whether white fish or salmon or even shrimp
  • A sprinkling of chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 slices French bread toasted (optional)
  • A generous dollop of pistou (optional)


  • In a pot over medium heat, cook the onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, until softened.
  • Add the tomato, cook for another minute, and then pour in the fish stock and seasonings, tasting to judge how much salt and pepper you need. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
  • Add the clams. If you’re using fresh fish or shrimp, slip that into the pot now. Clams always take longer than mussels, so give the clams a few minutes to cook before adding the mussels. If you’re using leftover cooked fish or shrimp, slip that into the pot now along with the mussels. Cook until the clams and mussels open. Discard any that do not open.
  • Sprinkle the parsley over the bouillabaisse and add a dollop of pistou. Sit down to dinner, if desired, with a couple of slices of toasted French bread spread with pistou.
Print RecipeBuy the The Pleasures of Cooking for One cookbook

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Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This recipe is perfect for a quick hearty bouillabaisse for one. I had frozen fish stock and leftover seafood so all I ended up buying were some clams. It required less chopping and ingredient prep than my regular version but with similar results. I will definitely make this again.

I prefer Emeril’s red pepper rouille to the pistou with this meal, but that may just personal preference. Overall a lovely, very easy recipe.

This is a great version of bouillabaisse made simply with a limited list of ingredients. It’s the perfect way to make a dish that’s usually too much bother for just one person. The final result was delicious and just as satisfying as any other bouillabaisse made with a greater number of ingredients.

My only suggestion is that there’s quite a bit of liquid and it remained rather “thin” for what I seek in a bouillabaisse. I added a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste from the squeeze tube that I keep in my refrigerator and this did the trick. The fennel flavor was not very discernible and the next time I will either crush the seeds with a mortar and pestle or add fresh sliced fennel. The dish needs quite a bit of seasoning or else it will taste bland.

This recipe can easily be increased to accommodate the desired number of servings. I had three people to serve and so I simply tripled all of the ingredients.

This single-portion bouillabaisse has a very good flavor, especially for the little work involved. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to throw together. It doubles well, too, so you can share it with your favorite seafood lover. I couldn’t find pistou in a jar, but I could easily find pesto, and that does go pretty well with the rest of the dish. Together, you get a quick weekday meal that leaves plenty of time for other activities.

Due to the number of mussels, there was a lot of broth left over. Next time, I’d start with 1 to 1 1/2 cups of fish stock. The resulting broth may be a tad stronger, but that wouldn’t hurt, anyway. Without the pistou and bread thing, I’d add some herbes de Provence to the pot to give it a bit more complexity.

I had this dish on the table in half an hour. I didn’t have frozen good fish stock (sorry, Judith) so I followed her advice about diluting clam juice. The broth was flavorful with just the few ingredients called for in the recipe. I could really taste the fennel seeds, even though I only used a pinch. It looked like a lot of food for one serving (my boyfriend and I split it), but I found myself wanting a snack later in the evening.

Originally published January 12, 2020


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  1. I borrowed this cookbook from the libes but I enjoyed it so much that I want to own it and I have only one cookbook but hundreds of index cards, internet and magazine recipes (all neatly filed of course – yeah right – but I do try a couple of times a year).

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