cre·ate verb \krē-ˈāt\
1. to use any medium that captures one's fancy: food, fabric, yarn, thread, paper, tile, glass, clay, beads, wire, paint, etc. plus tools like fire, scissors, glue, pliers, or needle in order to make, re-make or produce (something)
2. to cause (something new and hopefully beautiful) to exist
3. to produce something artsy fartsy
Thursday, April 13, 2017
Cooking: Shellfish Stew
Before my trip to New Orleans last week, I had bought a fennel bulb and a leek, intending to make a bouillabaisse and just didn't get to it. Luckily, these root vegetables remained fresh enough in the vegetable drawer, which made for a delicious midweek dinner.
My mise en place: a can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes, olive oil, 2 bottles of clam juice, Chardonnay. I started by dicing half of a large yellow onion and mincing 2 large cloves of garlic.
I then chopped and diced the fennel and sliced half the leek into thin segments. I normally discard the tops and fronds of the fennel, but decided this time to finely chop the fronds and am glad I did as they added lovely color to the broth and a bit more of that licorice flavor to the stew.
I had already tossed my onion and garlic into the soup pot along with a glug of olive oil. Then I tossed in the sliced leek and let the aromatics sweat with a sprinkle of salt on medium high heat.
After about 5 minutes of sautéing the aromatics, I then added my chopped fennel bulb as well as its fronds.
While the fennel was sautéing further with the onions, garlic and leek, I got to chopping and dicing 4 Yukon gold potatoes from my garden.
When I added the diced potatoes into the soup pot, I also added a couple knobs of butter.
I also added a couple bay leaves and then shook a couple of teaspoons of saffron into my palm to rub and crush and add to the pot.
Next I added what was left in my wineglass after sipping.
Then in went the canned tomatoes and the bottles of clam juice.
I let the soup simmer for a good 45 minutes to meld the flavors and cook the potatoes, occasionally adding water and tasting to add more sprinkles of salt. This is the broth after the simmer. I then took out my shellfish from the freezer.
I had bought a bag of frozen shellfish: cooked mussel in the shell, deveined and peeled shrimp, calamari rings, and scallops. I had already cheated by not making my own fish stock, so this is another shortcut by not buying the seafood fresh from the fishmonger. I added half the package or 3 soup bowls full of seafood.
I hate when shellfish gets overcooked, and so I added it before serving rather than letting it get rubbery. It only needed to cook for a couple minutes in the bubbling broth.
A toasted piece of baguette rubbed with a bit of garlic clove and a slather of butter, a glass of ice cold white wine and a bowl of shellfish stew made for a lovely and ooh la la meal.