shellfish stew provencale

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Servs: 8

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  • add   24 long parsley sprigs
  • add   2 pounds fennel bulb (sometimes called anise, available at most supermarkets), trimmed and sliced thin
  • add   16 small shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • add   1 red bell pepper, sliced thin lengthwise
  • add   1 teaspoon salt
  • add   4 cups white fish stock or bottled clam juice
  • add   2 pounds bones and trimmings of any white fish such as sole, flounder, or whiting, chopped
  • add   16 small hard-shelled clams cleaned
  • add   7 cups cold water
  • add   4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • add   1/2 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
  • add   2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • add   1 pound King crab legs, thawed, shelled, and the cartilage discarded
  • add   1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • add   the zest of 1 orange, removed in strips with a vegetable peeler
  • add   1 large onion, chopped
  • add   1/4 cup olive oil
  • add   <B>For the white fish stock:</B>
  • add   2 cups dry white wine
  • add   8 large sea scallops, halved, or 16 small sea scallops
  • add   1 bay leaf
  • add   1 cup dry white wine
  • add   2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried, crumbled, plus thyme sprigs for garnish
  • add   a 28- to 32-ounce can tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • add   2 cups sliced onion


  1. Clean the hard-shelled clams:
  2. Scrub the clams thoroughly with a stiff brush under cold water, discarding any that have cracked shells or that are not shut tightly.
  3. Make the stew:
  4. In a kettle cook the onion, the fennel, and the bell pepper in the oil over moderate heat, stirring, until the vegetables are softened. Stir in the zest, the minced thyme, the bay leaf, the cayenne, and the saffron, cook the mixture, stirring, for 30 seconds, and add the wine, the stock, the tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer the mixture, uncovered, for 15 minutes, add the garlic, and simmer the mixture for 5 minutes. The stew may be prepared up to this point 2 days in advance, cooled, uncovered, and kept covered and chilled. Stir in the shrimp and the clams and simmer the mixture, covered, for 5 minutes. Add the crab legs and the scallops, simmer the stew, covered, for 3 minutes, or until the scallops are just cooked through and the clams are opened, and discard the bay leaf and any unopened clams. Divide the stew among 8 heated bowls and garnish it with the thyme sprigs.
  5. Make the stock:
  6. In a well-buttered heavy saucepan combine the fish bones and trimmings, the onion, the parsley, the lemon juice, and the salt and steam the mixture, covered, over moderately high heat for 5 minutes. Add the water and the wine, bring the liquid to a boil, skimming the froth, and simmer the stock for 20 minutes. Strain the stock through a fine sieve into a bowl, let it cool to warm, and chill it, covered. The stock keeps, covered and chilled, for 1 week if it is brought to a boil every 2 days and then allowed to cool to warm, uncovered, before being chilled again. The stock keeps, frozen, for 3 months. Makes about 6 cups.

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