Monday, March 1, 2010

Fast and Furious Fish Stew

I bet you’ve always thought that fish stew is a complicated meal to prepare. This recipe will open your eyes. You can make the base for the stew in minutes, with your favorite veggies and a bit of wine, broth and clam juice to finish it. Fish cooks in just minutes, so add it to the base just before you are ready to serve. It’s as FUN to eat as it is easy to make.

Serves: 6 to 8
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 to 30 minutes

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 strips bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces
2 medium carrots, peeled, trimmed and chopped, about 1 cup
3 medium celery ribs, sliced, about 1 cup
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced, about 1 cup
6 large garlic cloves, peeled and sliced, about 2 tablespoons
2 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
1 cup white wine
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste, about ¾ cup
1 cup homemade chicken broth, or prepared low sodium chicken broth
2 fresh or dried Bay leaves
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
2 (4 to 5-ounce) lobster tails
½ pound cod fillet, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 pound fresh squid, cleaned, bodies cut into narrow rings, tentacles left in tact
½ lb. medium shrimp, about 25 to 30, peeled and deveined
1 pound mussels, scrubbed

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, onion and garlic and cook until soft and golden, about 5 minutes more. Stir in the clam juice, white wine, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and chicken broth. Add the salt, pepper and Bay leaves. Bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.

Split the underside of the lobster tails to easily remove the meat after cooking. Place the lobster tails into the pot and cook until just opaque, about 3 minutes. Add the cod, and cook for 3 minutes more. Add the squid, shrimp and mussels. Cook until the calamari and shrimp are opaque and the mussels open, about 3 minutes more. Serve right away.

Want to skip the bacon and chicken broth, to make this a totally fish dish? This recipe still works great if you substitute vegetable broth in place of chicken broth.
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