My friend Beverly, a lifelong Rhode Islander, moved to Denver a couple of weeks ago, leaving behind The Ocean State and its glorious and abundant seafood. For our last dinner on my back porch, I made this seafood stew, filled with all of the good things that come from our coastal waters. The key to the stew is the light broth, which will happily accept almost any type of shellfish or non-oily fish. Best of all, you can make the broth ahead of time, and refrigerate or freeze it. Then, head to the fish market, pick up a selection of seafood, and finish the stew with just a few minutes of cooking. (Remember to ask your fishmonger for some clam "liquor", which most markets will have on hand. The taste is much cleaner than bottled clam juice.) To make the full recipe, the large quantity of seafood will be expensive, so this is a great party or special occasion dish. However, you can freeze the broth in small batches, then make just enough for weeknight dinner with any little bits of fish or shellfish. Serve this dish to people you love, especially if they're moving inland.
Seafood stew with tomatoes, peppers, fennel and leeks
For the broth:
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 leeks, trimmed and finely chopped
1 fresh fennel bulb, trimmed and finely chopped
1/4 tsp mild red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
6 slow roasted tomato halves
3 Tbsp chopped roasted red pepper
14.5 oz can chopped or crushed tomato
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp fresh oregano leaves
1 qt clam juice (or fresh clam "liquor" from the fish market)
For the stew:
1 lb clams, scrubbed (make sure they are tightly closed; discard any that are not)
1 lb mussels, debearded and scrubbed (make sure they are tightly closed; discard any that are not)
1 lb sea scallops
1 lb large (26-30 or 31-40 size) shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lb salmon, cut into large chunks
1 lb haddock (or other firm white fish, like cod or scrod), cut into large chunks
In a large stock pot, heat the oil over low heat. Sauté the leeks and fennel for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until translucent. Add the red pepper flakes and garlic. Cook for 30 seconds more.
Add the slow-roasted tomatoes and roasted red pepper, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Then, add the chopped tomato, tomato paste, thyme and oregano. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Finally, pour in the clam broth.
Increase heat to medium, and bring the mixture to a low boil. Then, reduce heat to low, and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
Begin adding the seafood: First, the clams. Make sure they are submerged in the liquid, cover the pot, and cook for 10 minutes. Then, add the mussels. Cook, covered, for 5-10 minutes, until the clams and mussels are open. (Remember to discard any that do not open.)
Finally, uncover the pot, and add all remaining seafood. Simmer on low for 5 minutes, until the fish is cooked through and the shrimp are pink and curled. Stir gently, but don't worry; the large chunks of fish will break up, and that's fine.
Serve hot or at room temperature (we even eat it cold the next day, and it's delicious).
Other recipes that use these ingredients:
Seafood miso noodle soup, from Steamy Kitchen
Bouillabaisse, from Just One Cookbook
Sancocho de mariscos, from Aunt Clara's Kitchen
Thai coconut seafood soup, from The Kitchn
Icelandic fish soup, from Manger
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