Seafood stew

  • For the seafood stew
  • 3 tbsp good-quality olive oil
  • 2 small yellow onions, chopped
  • 300g new potatoes, large dice
  • 1 large fennel bulb, chopped
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 500ml good-quality white wine
  • 2 (400g) tins plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1L seafood stock, recipe follows, or shop-bought fish stock
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 5g saffron threads
  • 450g large prawns, shelled and de-veined (reserve the shells for the stock)
  • 450g each halibut and bass fillets, cut in large chunks
  • 24 mussels, cleaned and de-bearded
  • 3 tbsp Pernod
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest
  • Toasted baguette slices, buttered and rubbed with garlic
  • For the seafood stock
  • 2 tbsp good-quality olive oil
  • Shells from 450g large prawns
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, unpeeled and chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1.5L water
  • 125ml white wine
  • 30g tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme, including stems
For the seafood stew:
1) Heat the oil in a stockpot or casserole dish, add the onions, potatoes, fennel, salt and pepper and saute over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, until the onions begin to brown.

2) Add the wine and scrape up the brown bits with a wooden spoon. Add the tomatoes with their juices, stock, garlic and saffron to the pot, bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.

3) Add the prawns, fish and mussels, bring to the boil, then lower the heat, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the pot to sit covered for another 5 minutes. The fish and prawns should be cooked and the mussels opened. Discard any mussels that don't open.

4) Stir in the Pernod, orange zest and salt, to taste. Serve ladled over 1 or 2 slices of toasted baguette.

For the seafood stock:
1) Warm the oil in the pan over medium heat. Add the prawn shells, onions, carrots and celery over medium heat for 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook 2 more minutes.

2) Add the water, the white wine, tomato paste, salt, pepper and thyme. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour.

3) Strain through a sieve, pressing the solids. You should have approximately 1L of stock. If not, you can make up the difference with water or white wine.

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