Seafood Stew: We Saved the Best for Lastby Michael Wards
We’re wrapping up Seafood Month and ending with the mother of all recipes: Seafood Stew. In culinary terms, this can be easily defined as a fresh fish and shellfish dish cooked in a flavored broth. Instead of featuring just one variety, a stew utilizes a combination of seafood to create a dynamic and robust meal. Traditionally, the stew is comprised of the “catch of the day.”
Depending on where you live the catch may vary a bit. Inland you might not find as much variety as you would in coastal regions, like San Francisco and New England. But that’s the fun part. You can use what is most fresh and abundant in your area. I always recommend speaking with a knowledgeable fishmonger to help you out.
While the seafood takes center stage, the broth and style also make this meal really standout. Cioppino, which was said to have been made popular by Italian immigrants in San Francisco, is a preparation typically made with a tomato-and-wine-based broth. Of course, you can probably find recipes that are just made with tomatoes and stock, but we recommend this Cioppino from Epicurious (enhanced with dry red wine) Please note, the accompanying focaccia or sourdough bread is non-negotiable!
Another delicious option is Bouillabaisse—a French preparation, starring seafood, vegetables and Provencal spices, served with rouille or rich sauce. The history is actually pretty cool: “Bouillabaisse was originally a stew made by Marseille fishermen using the bony rockfish which they were unable to sell to restaurants or markets.” In other words, it was (and is) a great way to utilize the less popular fish and turn it into something outrageous. (And you know how much we appreciate sustainable solutions!) Another hit from Epicurious, be sure to put this Bouillabaisse recipe on this week’s menu.
We hope you enjoyed Seafood Month as much as we did. If you missed our previous posts, be sure to check out our Mussel and Shrimp blogs to learn all of our top Chef Secrets. Then, give these summer Seafood dishes a try and let us know what you think in the comments below!