Recipes from the Farmers’ Market: Fish Stew

I thought about calling this something more appetizing: Mediterranean Seafood Stew, or Almost-Cioppino or some such nonsense.  But really, it’s just a basic fish stew.  A FANTASTIC one, but a fish stew, nevertheless.  So let’s not get pretentious here, ok?  I don’t need pretense to know that I’d serve this to company in a flash.

And I have to confess that this started out as all farmers’ market stuff, but quickly morphed into a better idea.  This time next year I might have enough stuff from the farmers’ market that I could make the whole recipe from Farmers’ Market ingredients, but right now it’s still more like, “Fennel from the Market!  In a recipe that uses almost NOTHING ELSE from the Market!  Because I’m STILL kind of cleaning out my fridge/freezer/cupboard!!”  Ah, well.  That’s how it goes, sometimes.  😉

2 Tbs olive oil
2 c loves garlic, minced
2 heads fennel, stems and fronds removed, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into 1/2 inch slices
1/8th tsp salt (a medium shake)
2 14-oz cans diced tomatoes (or 1 28-oz can)
1/2 cup dry vermouth
8 oz. clam juice
1 1/2 Tbs lemon (about 1 medium lemon or 1/2 of a juicy lemon)
1/2 cup water
1-2 lbs assorted fish (I used 12 oz flounder, cut into 2-inch pieces and 1/2 pound cooked, peeled shrimp.)
1 10-oz can whole baby clams (or 2 6.5-ozcans chopped clams), with juice
3 green onions, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Creme fraiche or sour cream, for serving

The Recipe
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and sautee just until you can smell it (don’t brown it!).  Add the fennel and sprinkle with salt (to draw out the juices).  Allow to cook over medium heat, stirring a few times, for about 5 minutes.  (The fennel might get a little brown – that’s ok.)

Add the tomatoes, vermouth and clam juice and simmer over medium-low heat, uncovered for about 10 minutes.

Add the lemon juice and water, cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for for an additional 20 minutes, until the fennel is softened.

Uncover, add the fish (NOT shellfish) and simmer over low heat, uncovered 5 minutes.

Add clams and cooked shrimp and simmer 3 more minutes over medium-low heat.

Just before serving, add the green onions, extra salt and pepper, and the red pepper flakes.  Mix it all together, spoon into individual bowls, add a dollop of creme fraiche (or sour cream), and serve with crusty bread for sopping up the broth.

How Did It Go?
Oh. My. GOSH.  This was fantastic in every single conceivable way.  I did notice that right up until I added the green onions, the broth had an odd (almost unpleasant) pinkish color because of the tomatoes and white fish.  The addition of the green onions made it look WAY more appetizing, so don’t skip that part!!  You could also add some fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, and that would taste good (and look pretty!), too.  Seriously, you have GOT to try this out.  It’s really, really good.

And on Saturday, I’m back to the Market!!  I’ll let you know what I found (and what I spent!) on Monday!


One response to this post.

  1. […] here!    I’m eating fish stew tonight! This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the […]


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