I am a true lover of seafood and enjoy a good soup. So, combining these two loves is a natural. Years ago I used to make French Bouillabaisse, a light seafood chowder served over garlic bread. The other day I was craving something warm and cozy like a bowl of soup. I had a can of artichoke bottoms someone gave to me. I had some seafood… I used to make a Portuguese seafood stew but I am kinda tired of that; so upon more thought I decided it would be far more interesting to make an Italian version of Bouillabaisse that could use the ingredients I had on hand including that can of artichoke bottoms. I had everything but the cod.
It turned out pretty tasty. You can be flexible with the veggie amounts: I tend to use a lot of veggies in my recipes. I am positive you could use artichoke hearts, either canned or frozen in stead of the pricier bottoms. If you hate artichokes; leave them out. Their flavor is not a strong component but if you don’t want it…. A cup of thinly chopped fennel would make a good substitution. I got my saffron at Valley Farm Market in Bethlehem, cheapest around. Seems of good quality.
Use what ever seafood you have or enjoy. I think it is more interesting if you use at least two sorts besides one white firm fleshed fish. Leave the clam or mussel shells in and ditto for the shrimp shells: they add real flavor and look very authentic, just let folks pick them out. Do not use large clams or big hunks of fish; no bigger than one inch square. Only cook it until shells open, shrimp curl and fish gets opaque.
Angie’s Italian Fish Stew
2 Tbsp. EVOL (good olive oil)
1 stalk of celery diced
1 medium onion diced
1 large carrot diced
4 garlic cloves minced
¼ tsp. saffron, crushed
1 15 ounce can of finely diced tomatoes
1 large red potato cut in small (1/3 inch dice)
2-3 Tbsp white wine or vermouth
1 ½ cups water or whey leftover from straining yogurt
2 cups chicken broth
1/8-1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (your discretion)
1 bay leaf
½-3/4 cup cooked chickpeas.
½ lb mixed seafood like mussels, clams, squid, shrimp
½ lb cod fillet
1Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. fresh minced parsley or 1 tsp. dried parsley
1 can artichoke bottoms or hearts, drained and diced; I used all but one bottom
Garlic bread rounds, gluten free french bread
Heat EVOL in large heavy bottomed 2-3 qt sauce pan. Add celery, onion and carrots, cook about 5 minutes until softened, add garlic, cook another minute, add saffron, cook a minute. Add wine, water/whey and broth. Let heat a minute and add the potato cubes, bay leaf and red pepper flakes. Cook 15 minutes until potatoes are nearly done. Add cod which you have diced in large cubes and sprinkled with the lemon juice and mixed seafood. Cook about 5-8 minutes until seafood is just barely cooked.
Serve over thick slices of French bread heated, smeared with butter and sprinkled with garlic powder. I used two per bowl. You can heat them in the oven or in a toaster; do not butter and put in toaster; If you use the toaster method you will have to butter and garlic after it is done. I tried it both ways and it is superior baked in oven but fine done quick in the toaster. I used leftover French bread I had made the other day, gluten free of course and it made great garlic bread. The garlic granules work well but if you feel compelled to use fresh garlic…. You pour the stew over the bread and let it get soft from the broth. Alternately you can just eat it as bread with your stew. Enjoy!
Notes: I used chick peas I had cooked myself but canned are fine. If you don’t like chick peas use cannelloni beans or navy beans. I bet fava beans would be great in this! I used the whey remaining after I made Greek yogurt the day before. I never tasted it before; it is a touch salty and slightly tangy and very pleasant. I believe it is full of nutrients and a great addition to a soup.