zuppa di pesce – bouillabaisse marseillaise- Fish Soup

On the Italian side of our family, we have a long tradition for Zuppa di Pesce, which has long been known as bouillabaisse Marseillaise by the French. Seafood is a staple in our household.You will find our families version is a simple, yet quality version to serve. Perfect for any luncheon, or as a starter to your meal. It is seasoned with fresh herbs, homemade fish stock, and served with Italian bread… for soaping up those wonderful juices.

zuppa di pesce alla marsigliese - bouillabaisse marseillaise- Fish Soup of Marseilles
Zuppa di Pesce all marsigliese – bouillabaisse marseillaise- Fish Soup of Marseilles

In Italy, you will often find many versions of Zuppa di Pesce, as you will find bouillabaisse in France. They have a unique flavor ALL of their own. In America, the American Italians, also have theirs called Cioppino. Cioppino is said to have stemmed out of San Francisco by famed Italian fish wholesaler Achille Paladini. (Originally from Ancona, Italy he apparently hailed his idea from Ciuppin, also a classic soup of Genoa) I am always amazed at the history behind foods. Our family version is below.

Zuppa di Pesce – bouillabaisse

  • 4 pounds of assorted clams,mussels,crab,shrimp,octopus,halibut,red Snapper,squid
  • 4 cups of fresh San Marzano tomatoes, or Roma tomatoes, sliced into rounds
  • 3 cups of homemade fish stock
  • 1 cup dry white wine such as Pinot Grigio
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, halved & sliced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, halved
  • 1 cup zucchini ribbons
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 fresh lemons, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • fresh cracked pepper, to taste


  1. In a large stock pot add homemade fish stock, wine, and tomatoes. Bring to a nice simmer, add oregano, basil, rosemary, garlic, salt, and pepper. Juice one of your lemons, add to stock pot. Continue to simmer about 15 minutes.
  2. While it is simmering, use a potato peeler to make zucchini ribbons. Set aside. Slice other lemons, and set aside. Once you have simmered the tomatoes, wine and fish stock 15 minutes. Saute yellow onions about 1 minute in olive oil. Add red onions and yellow sautéed onions to the stock pot. Cook 5 minutes and then start adding seafood, longest cooking items first. (We used snapper, mussels, shrimp, and small crabs added in that order) DO NOT remove them from their shells, this enhances the flavor and appearance of your soup.
  3. Last but not least add the zucchini ribbons. Reduce heat to off and remove from burner after adding ribbons, as to not over cook. Let cool about 7 minutes to let flavors meld together. Ladle into bowls, garnish with lemon slices, and fresh parsley. Serve with Italian bread.

zuppa di pesce  - #bouillabaisse marseillaise- Fish Soup


There are several wonderful recipes for fish stock on the web. If you can not make fresh homemade fish stock, feel free to substitute with clam juice.

Be sure to always prepare and clean any seafood you plan on using. DO not remove seafood from shells to cook.

© Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material or photos without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner are strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. You may not copy and paste recipes to share on Social Platforms.



  1. Being Italian, we of course LOVE zuppa di pesce in our household too! Our local pork store (Italian grocer for those of you without) even sells a seafood assortment for making zuppa di pesce, although I am allergic to clam, mussels and oysters, so I make the base and then divide into two pots. Hubby gets the seafood assortment and I get shrimp, crab and scallops.


  2. […]       Steamed Mussels in a Garlic and Lemon Broth Serves 2   Ingredients   2 lbs fresh mussels, cleaned and debearded 2 tbsps. butter (divided) 6-8 large cloves fresh garlic, chopped 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 2 cups white wine juice and zest of 1 lemon 3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley salt, to taste 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, or to taste   Directions   In a large non stick Dutch oven over medium low heat melt one tablespoon of butter and the tablespoon of the olive oil.   Add the garlic and cook for about 30-45 seconds, stirring constantly.  Add in the lemon zest, salt and red pepper flakes and stir.  Cook for another 30 seconds.   Add the wine and bring to a boil.  Boil for about 2-3 minutes until the alcohol burns off, then add in the lemon juice and stir.  Lower the heat and add the mussels to the pot and stir.  Cover the pot and steam the mussels until they open up, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter and mix well.  This will give the sauce a bit of richness.   Add the parsley to the mussels and stir.  Continue to cook about another 2 minutes.  Serve. *Note:  Any mussels that do not open, throw them away, you cannot eat them.   Enjoy!   For another wonderful seafood recipe, try out this delicious Zuppe di Pesce from The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch […]


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