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Italian Seafood Stew, Cioppino
My simple weeknight version takes half an hour and uses whatever happens to look good at the fish counter. I often make this dish with all shrimp or mussels. Yum! For Christmas Eve or a special holiday meal, make the fennel tomato broth in advance at last minute poach the seafood.
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- One small bulb fennel or anise, outer layer peeled, center core cut out, thinly sliced
- 1 large shallot, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup white wine or chicken broth
- One 28 ounce can petite diced tomatoes with juice
- Big pinch crushed red pepper
- Sea salt and black pepper
- 2 pounds mixed seafood - example ½ pound shrimp, ½ pound scallops, 1 dozen cherrystone clams, 1 dozen mussels
- Saute the garlic, fennel and shallot in the olive oil in a large deep skillet or pot over medium high heat until soft and just beginning to brown at the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the wine, tomatoes and crushed red pepper flakes, bring to a boil, lower heat and barely simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- I gauge all my seafood cuts by the size of my shrimp - if the shrimp are large, I may leave large scallops whole. You want your seafood to cook to doneness at about the same time.
- Just before serving poach seafood in the simmering tomato fennel broth until just cooked through, timing depends on the size of shrimp and scallops... simmer until mussels and clams open. Do NOT overcook.
- Serve in a deep bowl with a bit of torn fresh basil leaves and fennel fronds.