Chilled Bouillabaisse Velouté

Saffron-scented seafood recalls the sunny coast of Provence. This soup takes it’s cues from a classic bouillabaisse, but it’s cool smooth texture earns it the name Chilled Bouillabaisse Velouté.

Chilled Bouillabaisse Velouté 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4Source Café Boulud CookbookPublished


  • 5 cup water
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, split lengthwise, thinly sliced, washed and dried
  • 1 head of garlic cut crosswise in half
  • ¼ medium fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • salt and white pepper to taste
  • 1½ tablespoon tomato paste
  • 4 large tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 pound pound large shrimp in the shell
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ⅔ cup cooked or canned chickpeas
  • 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, peeled, trimmed and cut into ¼‑inch dice
  • ½ red bell pepper, cored, trimmed and cut into ¼‑inch dice
  • ½ yellow bell pepper, cored, trimmed and cut into ¼‑inch dice
  • 1 small zucchini, scrubbed, trimmed and cut into ¼‑inch dice
  • 1 small eggplant, trimmed and cut into ¼‑inch dice
  • 2 clove garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 pinch red-pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon chives, minced
  • 3 basil leaves
  • ⅓ cup chick peas
  • 12 nicoise olives, pitted and quartered



Bring the water to boil is a large saucepan, the lower it to a simmer and keep it there.

Pour the olive oil into a large stockpot set over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion, celery, leek, garlic and fennel, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring regularly, for 8–10 minutes, or until the vegetables soften but do not color. Add the tomato paste and fresh tomatoes and continue to cook and stir for 4 more minutes. Toss in the shrimp, herbs, and spices and cook stirring, for 2 minutes or until the shrimps turn pink. Add the simmering water and cook for 2 minutes more, then, with a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp. Set the shrimp aside for about 10 minutes, so that they’ll be cool enough for you to remove the shells.

Shell and de-vein the shrimp, reserving the shells, and refrigerate, covered, until needed. Toss the shells back into the pot and let simmer with the soup for another 30–40 minutes, regularly skimming off the foam and any solids that rise to the surface. When the soup has only 5 minutes left to cook, add the chickpeas. Bring the soup back to a boil, and then pull the pot from the heat.

Pour the soup into a blender and puree until smooth (you may have to work in batches). Push the soup through a fine meshed strainer, so that it is smooth and creamy enough to live up to its name, velouté—it should be thick enough to coat a spoon. If too thick, stir in a little water. Check the seasoning, add salt and white pepper, if needed, and then cover and chill.


Warm 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large sauté pan or skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and peppers and cook, stirring, until the vegetables start to soften but not color, about 3 minutes. Pour in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the zucchini, eggplant, garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook and stir for 6 to 8 minutes more, until the vegetables are tender. Turn the vegetables into a serving bowl to cool to room temperature.

When the vegetables are cool, remove and discard the garlic. Stir in the chives, half the basil, and the chickpeas. (At this point cover and chill the vegetables a few hours, until needed.)

To Serve

Put the vegetables in a soup tureen, scatter over the shrimp, and sprinkle over the olives. Pour the chilled soup into the tureen and sprinkle the remaining basil over the top. Serve cold.