Ah, alliteration, how I love thee. This simple and speedy recipe generate loads of subtly saffron scented sauce that’s sure to bring some sultriness to a sleety, snowy winter’s eve. Whew, glad I got that out of my system.
Stews are one of my favorite meals to put together. Easy to make, they can be light and brothy, as this seafood one is, or, if made with meat and potatoes, hale and hearty. But since I prefer my winter meals to be warming but not leave me feeling like sluggish, fish stews are a staple here in Tess’s kitchen. Mussels, with their unique brininess, that you suck from their shells right into your eagerly awaiting mouth, shrimp, delicately curled and cooked so they have a soft snap when you bite into them, and monkfish, its texture and sweetness so reminiscent of lobster, form the base of this meal. Tomato puree, fennel, leeks, clam juice, sake, thyme, and saffron allow the tastes of these treasures from the sea to shine through while forming a sauce you’ll be eager to sop up with a slice of French baguette (if you’re not gluten-free, of course).
A delicate seafood stew with mussels, shrimp and monkfish, subtly scented with saffron, perfect for a cold winter's night. Ready in under an hour!
*Adapted from Saffron-Scented Seafood Stew
- 1 leek, finely sliced
- 1 bulb fennel, fronds reserved and chopped for garnish, thinly sliced
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 36 mussels, de-bearded and scrubbed, if needed
- 1 1/2 lbs monkfish, cut into chunks
- 1/2 lb shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 1 cup tomato puree
- 2 cups clam juice
- 1 1/2 cups sake
- 3/4 tsp saffron
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in large saute pan.
- Add sliced leeks, fennel and thyme sprigs and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 - 7 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook, stirring to prevent burning, for about a minute.
- Add tomato puree, clam juice and sake, cover and simmer for 5 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
- In a small bowl, crush the saffron threads and add a tablespoon or two of heat water. Let sit while you finish the dish.
- Raise the heat to medium-high, add mussels and cook, covered, for 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add shrimp and monkfish and cook, covered, for another 4 - 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure fish is cooking evenly.
- Add saffron infused water and stir gently to distribute.
- Garnish with fennel fronds.
I purchased a two pound bag of mussels and steamed the remainder in the leftover broth, which upped the servings to 6.
Freeze leftover tomato puree in silicone ice cube trays. When frozen, place in labelled zip-lock baggies.