By Chef Lauren Cox, Closer to Your Food

My family and I were lucky enough to get away to Whidbey Island, Washington, on vacation. We stayed at a house on the water with a dock where they cultivate scallops, mussels and oysters. We also were fortunate enough to go to a local farm and pick some fresh veggies including onions, carrots, potatoes and fennel. I put two and two together, and
knew I had to make a bouillabaisse.

I started by cultivating little, sweet pink bay scallops and mussels out of their bags on the dock. If you cultivatingdo this, be sure to store them on ice immediately.  I scrubbed the mussels with steel wool under cold water to remove their beards and ensure they were thoroughly clean.

Scallops have one side that is flat, which is the top side. Using a shellfish knife, carefully remove the flesh and membranes from the upper shell first, then pop off the top shell.

Next, use the knife to carefully separate the membranes from the bottom shell, avoiding the main piece of scallop meat. Discard those membranes, then take a spoon to scoop the scallop off the bottom shell. Locate the adductor muscle and carefully remove and discard from the scallop. When you store the scallop, make sure they stay cold, covered and dry.

For the soup: Most people harvestingthink it is a sin to eat bouillabaisse without bread with rouille (a paste made from hot chiles, garlic and olive oil). I don’t necessarily care for the rouille, so I prefer naturally fermented artisan baguette with real stone ground wheat, toasted and slathered with local cow or goat’s milk butter.

Ingredients for Bouillabaisse

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme

1/4 teaspoon saffron
1 1/2 cups new potatoes, cleaned and sliced 1/4″ thick
1 whole white onion, diced
1/4 cup carrots, peeled, diced
1/4-1/2 cup fennel bulb, diced (reserve some of the fronds for garnish)
1 cup peeled and diced ripe tomatoes
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups court bouillon or stock of choice
3/4 cup bay scallops
1 cup mussels in the shell
Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste

finishedMaking the Bouillabaisse

In a large pot on medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Add the garlic and aromatics and stir. Next, add in the onion, carrot, potatoes and fennel. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the tomatoes to the pot and stir again. Bring the heat to high and deglaze the pan with the white wine. Allow the wine to evaporate by about 75%, and add the stock. Stir and season again to taste (if necessary).

Reduce the heat to medium, add in the mussels and cover. Cook covered for about 5 minutes or until the mussels start to open. Next, add the scallops to the pot and stir. Cook another 3-5 minutes or until the shellfish is cooked through and tender.

Serve hot with good toasted bread and a nice dry white wine.


Love seafood? Watch this video with Dr. Jared Skowron on the mercury in your seafood.


Closer to Your Food is a wellness blog focused on eating and cooking for health and sustainability with recipes and lifestyle tips formulated around a plant-based diet and home-grown local foods. Chef Lauren Cox holds a B.A. from the le Cordon Bleu in Culinary Management with over 8 years of fine dining experience in private dining, catering and Michelan star restaurants. For more information, please visit and follow Closer to Your Food on Twitter and Facebook @Closer2YourFood. 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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