TODAY   |  April 24, 2013

Eric Ripert cooks up classic French bouillabaisse

Chef Eric Ripert learned to make bouillabaisse from his grandparents during family fishing trips along the French Riviera. He shows the TODAY anchors how to make the traditional French fish stew.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> this morning on today's melting pot , bouillabaisse, the classic french fish stew. chef eric ripert learned the recipe at the side of his grandparents on family fishing trips along the french riviera . now he's adapted that traditional recipe so you can make it at home. eric is chef and owner of the famous restaurant here in new york. good to see you.

>> you too.

>> so tell me about these weekends. it sounds so romantic.

>> it was romantic, however, i was 4 or 5 years old, so i didn't really comprehend what he was saying. but we would spend weekends with my grandfather and the family, and my grandmother was italian. and we would go fishing, and whatever we would get, we would bring it back and the guys will relax and play and the ladies will be in charge of cooking the fish and they would make a bouillabaisse, which is very traditional from the south of france and the french riviera . and we had some wonderful weekends and i have incredible memories of that.

>> i'm jealous. it sounds beautiful. and you'll make a version of that old family recipe for us here today. where do we begin?

>> so you'll put some tomato paste and some saffron here, i have leeks, fennel, onion, garlic.

>> this is for the broth?

>> this is for the broth, yes. the saffron is very important.

>> and what is this?

>> this is a very strong onion, that gives, of course, the flavor. and you'll put some clam juice.

>> clam juice, okay.

>> and we're going to put some chicken juice. so this is a little bit of a sophistication of the bouillabaisse, because the real bouillabaisse, it takes a long time, it's a lot of fish involved in it. and so it's an adaptation.

>> okay.

>> however, what we have done here is going to reduce and then you will have this kind of broth, rich, and very flavor.

>> how long does it take to get from there to there?

>> from there to there, it takes about probably half hour, 20 minutes .

>> okay.

>> and then you are going to actually filter the broth. i'm going to season the fish. and the fish will go in the oven.

>> you must cook at home.

>> a little bit.

>> so this is striped bass , is that right?

>> this is striped bass .

>> you prefer striped bass ?

>> i like striped bass . we could do it with my white fish that is not fatty like tuna or salmon. it does really good. so the idea is to put some butter on the bass so it's very well-protected from the heat. it goes to the oven. when it comes back, it looks like that. so what we have here is the fish that is cooked. we're going to use what you have done here.

>> how long did you bake the fish?

>> the fish bakes about five, six minutes. and then you just have to plate. so to plate, we have the vegetables that you just filtered. so i put them here. it's just to look good. and the fish will go on the top, and the sauce, of course.

>> this is a special recipe for you, isn't it?

>> it's a family recipe, brings a lot of memories to me. and -- see, we're putting the sauce right here around it.

>> beautiful.

>> delicious.

>> doesn't that smell great?

>> and then you take it out. yeah, you can smell the saffron and garlic and onions, and then the fish goes on top, like that.

>> beautiful!

>> and then if you want to be fancy, you can add a little bit of --

>> we do, we do.

>> that's fancy enough.

>> something like that.

>> you're making that look even more beautiful. we have a photograph, i believe, of a 17-year-old chef eric ripert . do we have that? look at that!

>> i haven't changed at all!

>> nothing has changed.

>> you improve with age. get better and better.

>> well, erik --

>> thank you very much.

>> always a pleasure to cook with you. thank you for sharing a family recipe with us. if you've been inspired to cook any of the recipes you've seen on "today," let's see how you made out. take a photo of your dish and send it to us at