Niko’s Vegan Bouillabaisse

January 7, 2022

Chef Al Paris holds an incredible food philosophy of freshness and respect for ingredients as dearly to his heart as his love of creative cooking. This dish…this dish…it’s a few steps but I am telling you that it will be on your table all the time.

This dish is a story of Niko, a 68-year-old Buddhist Vegan Grandmother and Chef who has moved from Kyoto Japan with her daughter Ren and her new French son in law Didier along with their daughter May to his hometown of Marseille. Niko is attempting to reconcile her new life as a widowed Grandmother and integrate into her new family in this ancient Provencal storybook fishing village.

Makes 4-6 servings

Ingredient List:

For Niko’s Sea Broth

  • 1 tablespoon extra olive oil
  • 1 large white of leek, cut in ½ inch coins
  • 4 crushed garlic cloves
  • 2 celery stalks, ¼ inch diagonals
  • 2 medium new potatoes, ½ inch slices
  • 1 fennel bulb, ½ inch slices
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sheets Kombu sea vegetable
  • 4 coins sliced fresh ginger
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon saffron threads
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 tablespoon white miso
  • 2 cup crushed tomato in juice
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • For Rouille
  • 1 cup vegan mayo substitute
  • 2 tablespoons red chili paste
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • For the Bouillabaisse
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 each Large King Oyster Mushrooms, cut into “1 1/2 inch Scallops” scored on the cut sides
  • 1 carrot, ½ inch diagonal
  • 2 each 8 inch peeled Japanese eggplant, cut into 1-inch diagonal
  • 1 yellow zucchini, ½ inch coins
  • 1 large red pepper, charred over an open flame, peeled, cut into 8 slices
  • 8 shiitake mushroom caps, stems removed
  • 2 smashed garlic cloves
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ½ cup Pernod
  • 1/2 cup Fennel fronds, from bulb
  • 1 crusty French Baguette, cut into long diagonal slices

For the sea broth

  • Sauté leeks, garlic, fennel, celery and potatoes in olive oil for 5 minutes on a medium heat.

Step By Step Instructions:

Add the rest of the ingredients except the miso, bring to a hard boil while stirring and turn to a soft simmer for one hour. Remove the Kombu and bay leaves and stir in the miso off of the heat.

For the Rouille

Mix all ingredients well and chill 1 hour before using

For the Bouillabaisse

Heat olive oil and sear King Oyster mushroom “scallops” on scored side; flip and add eggplant to sear. Flip eggplant and add carrots; sear well. Add garlic, shiitake, zucchini, thyme and red pepper to the pan to heat through. Deglaze Pernod, (when flames dissipate add fennel fronds and 8 ounces Niko’s broth); bring to a simmer and let rest of the burner.

To Plate Dish

In 4 bowls place seared vegetables from broth as a base. Beautifully arrange Bouillabaisse ingredients artistically on and around the dish. Pour 4 ounces of hot Sea Broth on the dish. 

Cut Baguette on a diagonal 1-inch-thick and toast. Spread each toast with Rouille and serve 3 pieces with each bowl.