Promising not to serve to any mutual friends, I begged this recipe from a friend after she served this dish to Ed and me. This recipe called “East Coast Fisherman’s Stew” is from the Hay Day Country Market Cookbook by Kim Rizk and Maggie Stearns. The delicious stew we were served did not contain clams and shrimp. When I have made it I omit the saffron and mussels and clams and sometimes the shrimp. When I use shrimp, despite the author's note I use shelled shrimp. Also good with a mix of scallops and shrimp as well as fish.
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil [I reduced to ~2T]
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 bulb fresh fennel, rinsed, trimmed, and coarsely chopped
5 cups coarsely chopped fresh or good-quality canned peeled tomatoes
4 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 large pinch saffron threads, preferably toasted
1 cup dry white wine
Coarse (kosher) salt
1/2 cup shredded fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
1 1/2 pounds fresh cod; cut into bite-size chunks
1 pound medium shrimp, deveined; shells left on [see Note above]
24 fresh mussels or clams, shells well scrubbed (if using mussels, remove beards)
1. Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed kettle or soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and fennel, and sauté until lightly caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, saffron, and wine, and simmer gently until slightly thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
2. Add the basil and parsley to the pot. Season the cod with 1 teaspoon salt [I omit salt] and add the fish to the pot in an even layer. Then add the shrimp in a layer, and finally the mussels. Cover and simmer, stirring gently once, just until the mussels have opened and the shrimp are completely pink and the fish opaque, 10 to 12 minutes. Discard any mussels that do not open. Spoon the seafood into large warm shallow bowls, and ladle the juices on top. Serve hot.
Note: Shrimp cooked in its shell retains the most juice and seasonings for the best flavor and texture. To clean the shrimp, just split it along the back ridge, using a pair of kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cutting just deep enough to expose the dark vein. Rinse the vein away under cold running water. Once cooked, the shells are easy to peel away with your fingers.