Saturday, September 15, 2007

Seafood Stew

Environment Canada said it was going to be cool today - and it was. I wanted to make something for dinner that would be toasty, but not full on fall food. I'm not ready to start eating squash yet.

Then I remembered I froze the leftover broth from the mussels I made earlier in the summer. So I decided to use in a fish stew.

I wanted to incorporate the idea from the minimalist using the shrimp shells to make a stock, not just for the flavour, but because Paul always complains when I leave the shells on. And I had just seen Ina make a fish stew on tv, and I wanted to use some of her ideas. But it turns out the shrimp shell stock was in her recipe too.

Ina used fennel in her recipe, but I am a liquorice hater, so I decided to leave that out. Since it's the end of summer, so I knew the market would be full of fresh tomatoes, so I decided to use fresh tomatoes instead of canned, and add a little tomato paste. Paul's mother found a really cute Polish tomato paste that came in a jar. I wish all tomato paste was packaged like this.

I served this with a nifty little baguette I got called a ficelle. It had a nice sour taste. I really liked this recipe. It seemed kind of fancy, but came together very fast. However, I had a bit of sticker shock on the price of fresh seafood. Next time, I might be temped to try using frozen. In any event, this was probably the most expensive meal I cooked all year, but it was worth it.

Fast Seafood Stew
(serves two)
1/2 lb shrimp, the kind with shells
1/2 lb Halibut, in 1 inch chunks
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp tomato paste

1. Peel shrimp and place shells in a large pot. Cover with water and add bay leaf, bring to a simmer. (Simmer until all the other vegetables have been cut up.) Strain stock from shells and reserve.
2. Fry onion in olive oil over medium heat. When they appear soften, maybe 5 mins, add garlic and cook on medium heat for another 2-3 mins. Add 1 cup stock, tomato paste and a big pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer.
3. Add tomato, shrimp and halibut. Cook covered for about 7 mins, or until the shrimp are almost opaque. Removed from heat and let sit for 5 mins.

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