2011-02-24 / Features

Flavorful Fish Stew From The Mediterranean

Flavorful meals come in all shapes and sizes. When looking to seafood for flavor, shrimp shells are full of flavor, and even more so in the following recipe for “Mediterranean Fish Stew” from “Easy Entertaining” (Ryland, Peters & Small). The flavor of the shells should seep into the sauce, making this a delicious dish best eaten with your fingers and mopped up with plenty of crusty fresh bread.

Mediterranean Fish Stew
Serves 4

12 mussels
1 large fennel bulb, with leafy tops
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3/4 cup dry white wine
11/4 cups fish stock
29 ounces canned chopped tomatoes 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 pound monkfish fillet, cut into
11/2-inch chunks
12 large, unpeeled, raw shrimp,
heads removed
1 pinch of sugar
Sea salt and freshly ground black
Extra virgin olive oil, to serve

Scrub the mussels clean and rinse them in several changes of cold water to remove grit. Pull off the beards or seaweed like threads, and discard any mussels that are cracked or that don’t close when tapped against the countertop — these are dead and not edible.

Remove the leafy tops from the fennel bulb, chop them coarsely and set aside. Cut the bulb into quarters, remove and discard the core, then finely chop the bulb.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or wok. Add the fennel bulb and saute for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for a further 1 minute. Add the wine, stock, canned tomatoes, and sugar, and stir well. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, then simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add plenty of salt and pepper.

Add the monkfish and return to simmering. Stir in the mussels and shrimp, cover, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the mussels have opened and the fish is cooked.

Ladle the stew into deep plates or bowls. Sprinkle with the fennel tops and olive oil, and serve.

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