Gary does love a great fish stew. And I love Gary, so creating a healthy, fresh fish stew made sense the other night.
We had a pound of gorgeous head on Kona shrimp, along with a plethora of incredible tomatoes from our friends at Kawamata Farms and a baby fennel we found at our local farmers market. In my mind that says chioppino, even without mussels or clams. Feel free to use any kind of fish you may like, including halibut, mussels, scallops, anything, or simply use shrimp like we did for this one. I have a recipe for the full shebang linked here. Pair with a crisp and light Rose from Provence, like Whispering Angel.
Olive or Grapeseed Oil
1 small yellow onion – chopped
2 cloves garlic – minced
1 carrot – chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
2 celery stalks (with leaves) – chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 small fennel bulbs – chopped
1 small red pepper – chopped
1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 large tomatoes, chopped (you can seed them, but I think the seeds are fine)
3 tablespoons chopped parsley – 2 tablespoons for the soup, 1 tablespoon for garnish
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon capers
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon paprika
1 good pinch saffron threads (optional)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 large bay leaves
1 tablespoon fresh cracked pepper
1/2 – 1 tablespoon salt (more to your taste if you use low sodium stock)
2 cups stock made my boiling shrimp skins in water and straining (see below)
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 pound gulf shrimp – peeled and de-veined (you can leave the heads on, if they are available and you like the flavor…Gary loves them)
Crusty sourdough bread for dipping
The soup can be made several hours prior to eating (and it actually helps marry the flavors together) and simmer on low heat until ready to serve; just wait until about 5 minutes before you are ready to serve to cook the shrimp inside the stew.
Peel and de-vein all of your shrimp and set aside, keeping them chilled until ready to cook. Add the shells to a small sauce pan filled with water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce slightly to a low boil and cook for 10 minutes. Strain into a bowl and set aside. Discard shells.
In a large soup pot or dutch oven heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Have all your veggies prepped prior to starting the soup. Add all of the vegetables into the pot and cook over medium heat for about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion and fennel begin to become soft and slightly translucent. Add the tomato paste and fresh chopped tomatoes. Continue cooking. Season with salt and pepper. Add saffron, dried herbs and white wine. Continue to cook. Add shrimp and vegetable stock and fresh herbs. Bring to a boil and boil for about 5 minutes, then reduce heat to a simmer until you are ready to add your fish.
When ready to add the shrimp bring the heat back up to medium and stir in the shrimp. Remove the bay leaves. Spoon into large soup bowls. Top each serving with a bit of extra parsley and serve with lots of hearty bread for dipping.