Anytime Fish and Shellfish Stew
This is a sort of ad-lib fish stew, inspired by the kind of stew you’d find served in the South of France: Its exact proportions and quantities aren’t set in stone. Use whatever white-fleshed fish and shellfish you like. Potatoes make the dish more substantial, and the slices really absorb all the lovely flavors of the stew.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 3tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1medium onion, diced (about 2 cups)
- Salt and pepper
- 4garlic cloves, minced
- 1bay leaf
- 1large thyme sprig
- Pinch of crumbled saffron threads
- Pinch of red-pepper flakes or a whole small dried red pepper
- Splash of dry white wine (about 1/4 cup)
- 1 ½cups chopped tomato, canned or fresh (about 2 medium)
- 4cups fish stock or water
- 2pounds yellow-fleshed potatoes, such as Yukon Gold, sliced about 1/4-inch thick
- 6medium cherrystone clams, scrubbed
- 1pound boneless, skinless cod or halibut, cut in 1-inch pieces
- 1pound mussels, cleaned
Step 1Heat olive oil over medium in a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot or Dutch oven. Add onions and stir to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until softened and lightly colored, about 10 minutes.
Step 2Stir in garlic, bay leaf, thyme, saffron and red pepper, and cook for 1 minute. Add wine and tomatoes, and simmer 1 minute. Add stock and bring to a slow boil over medium. Add potatoes and a good pinch of salt. Adjust heat to a brisk simmer. Cook with lid ajar until potatoes are just done, about 10 minutes. Taste broth — it should be well seasoned — and adjust as necessary. (You can do this up to an hour ahead of time.)
Step 3As the broth simmers, add the clams, and cook for 5 minutes, covered with the lid ajar. Add cod and mussels on top, cover and cook until the mussels are done, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn off heat, and let the stew steep for 5 to 10 minutes, until the mussels and clams open. Serve in wide soup bowls.