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Provençal Fish Stew

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Keep in mind this is a recipe for a crowd, for 8 people.  Cut it in half if there’s fewer people.

extra virgin olive oil
2 onions, unpeeled, roughly chopped
1 carrot, cut into ¼ inch rounds
4 heads garlic, unpeeled, roughly cut up
1 large fennel bulb, with leafy top, roughly chopped
2 cups dry white wine
1 cup Pernod
8 cups of fish stock (you can make your own, but why bother, there’s very good frozen fish stock to buy)
zest of 2 oranges, cut into strips, (no white pith)
2 cups of canned whole tomatoes, with liquid, crushed
4 bay leaves
1 tsp saffron threads
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried rosemary
2 lbs mixed seafood, mussels & clams in the shell, scallops, firm fish fillets, like ahi, halibut, (some people use cleaned squid, too, but we dont like it)

Heat oil in saucepan.  Add onions, carrot, garlic, fennel and sauté, stirring occasionally until vegetables are ightly browned (8 minutes or so).

Add  wine and 1 cup Pernod and increase heat to high.  Bring to a boil and cook uncovered until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.  Add the fish stock, orange zest, tomatoes, bay leaves, saffron, thyme, oregano and rosemary.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered for about 1 hour, make sure it doesn’t reduce too much.

scrub mussels and clams, trims scallops. cut fish if need be.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour contents thru a strainer into a heatproof container, press firmly on the solids with the strainer with the back of a spoon.  Discard the solids and return the broth to the saucepan.  Season with salt, if needed and a add a little pernod, return to simmer.

Add clams to simmering broth, cook for 3 minutes, then add mussels and recover.  When the clams and mussels start to open, add the scallops and firmer fish to the pan.  Cover and simmer gently until scallops and fish are almost opaque, about 3 minutes, then add (totally optional) squid.  Continue cooking for about 2 minutes, discard any clams or mussels that haven’t opened.

And serve like a stew in big bowls.  With aïoli and toast if you want, or just warm bread. 

 

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