Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mediterranean Fish Stew

I love fish and seafood stews and I love pairing fish with fennel...the flavors are intoxicating.  A loaf of crusty bread finishes this off.

Serves 4 to 6

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 anchovy fillets, minced
2 small leeks, pale green and white parts only, sliced lengthwise and the crosswise into quarter inch half moons
2 medium fennel bulbs, cored and thinly sliced
5 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp ground fennel seed
1 tsp saffron threads, crushed a bit
1  14.5 ounce can Roma tomatoes, chopped and with the juice
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups clam juice
4 medium redskin potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup small black olives ( nicoise or kalamata)
1  1/2 pounds skinless, boneless salt water fish (cod, halibut, pollock, etc) cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Gently heat the oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven, add the anchovies and saute until the anchovies break up and sort of disintegrate.  Add the leeks and fennel slices and continue to cook until the leeks are soft but not browned
Stir in the minced garlic, saffron and ground fennel seed and saute for about two more minutes
Add the wine, tomatoes, clam juice and potatoes.  Bring the mixture up to the boil and then down to a simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender
Add the olives and fish and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes or until the fish turns opaque
Stir in the chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper
Serve warm with your favorite crusty bread or baguette

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