It’s fall now, but in California it’s still feeling a little more like summer. And although it’s not very chilly, I’m starting to think about the upcoming holidays as well as all the comforting, warm dishes that seem to be the perfect remedy for a long, cool and windy or rainy day. Soups and stews come to mind, and more heartier dishes that usually include heavier meats and potatoes, but I especially love soup and stews because they are so versatile and can be as healthy as you want them to be. I’m not quite ready for a hearty beef or chicen stew yet, but today I made a light, fish stew with fresh ingredients that can be served on its own, with rice or cous cous, a salad – or even over spaghetti like you’ll see below. It’s incredibly easy to make and the perfect thing to dip crusty bread into!
- 1 pound white fish, cod, grouper, sea bass all work wonderful
- 1½ pounds fresh clams (in shell), soaked and cleaned very well
- 1 dozen fresh prawns, cleaned, shelled and butterflied
- 4 fresh, ripe, tomatoes chopped (remove core and don't discard juices)
- 1 medium white onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced shallots
- 2 tablespoons fresly crushed garlic
- 1 cup chicken stock
- ½ cup dry white wine
- a few tbls extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley (preferably flat leaf)
- pinch of saffron (really important - it makes a difference!)
- about 4 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
- kosher salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper
- Optional - pasta and grated parmigiano cheese
- Add enough olive oil to cover bottom of a large, heavy-bottom fry pan. After heating, add onions and shallots and saute on medium (or medium low) for about five minutes.
- Add garlic for about 45 seconds and then add a small portion of the wine just to get a little sizzle going for about 30 seconds.
- Once there's a nice sizzle, add the tomatoes, the remainder of the wine, salt, saffron, then most of the fresh basil and parsley, leaving a little behind for garnish.
- Let simmer for about 10 minutes uncovered and then add the chicken stock.
- Bring back to a simmer for another five minutes and then add the white fish.
- Let simmer fpr a few minutes and then add the prawns.
- Simmer for five minutes and then add the clams and cover for about five minutes until all the clams open up (discard any clams that fail to open).
Note – Always remember to taste along the way and add more salt if necessary. Also, you can always play with the consistency by adding more or less tomatoes, wine, or chicken stock.
As I mentioned earlier, this dish can be served in a shallow bowl with crusty bread. Or like in the photo above, gently spooned over fresh pasta and topped with fresh parsley and fresh parmigiana cheese. This is wonderful with a fresh salad or a side of greens.