Fish Stew Recipe
On chilly nights, tuck into this flavorful, easy-to-prepare soup that’s so full of fish we call it a stew. Sop up the broth with crusty French bread. Serve with a big spoonful of aioli to add a punch of garlic and eggy richness.
For the broth:
4 cups clam juice or fish stock (or the bones of one large, mild-flavored fish plus 4 cups water)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 bay leaf
1 fresh thyme sprig
1 fresh Italian parsley sprig
5 whole black peppercorns
For the stew:
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium leeks, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (white and light green parts only)
1 medium fennel bulb, outside layer discarded, cored, and cut into medium dice
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 pound littleneck clams, scrubbed and soaked in several changes of cold water
2 pounds mixed white mild-flavored fish fillets (such as cod, halibut, or grouper), skin on or off, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh chervil or tarragon leaves
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 cup aioli (optional)
Crusty French baguette, for serving
For the aioli:
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 cup canola or grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1. For the broth: Place all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the flavors meld, about 30 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium saucepan and keep warm.
2. For the stew: Drain the tomatoes and discard the liquid. Using your hands and working over a medium bowl, break the tomatoes into rough 3/4-inch pieces, discarding the cores but keeping any liquid and seeds; set aside.
3. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the leeks and fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are translucent and the fennel has softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add the wine and let simmer until nearly evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add the reserved tomatoes (along with their seeds and juices) and the warm broth, stir to combine, and bring to a boil.
4. Reduce the heat to medium low, add the clams, and simmer until they just start to open, about 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile, season the fish lightly with salt and pepper. Gently submerge the fish in the broth and bring to a simmer, cooking until the fish just starts to flake when pierced with a fork and the clams open, about 8 to 10 minutes. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Sprinkle with the fresh herbs, ladle into bowls, and (if you choose) top each with a dollop of aioli. Serve with the baguette.
5. For the aioli: Make the aioli: Place garlic and salt in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Process until pureed. Add egg and egg yolk and blend, scraping down the sides.
With the machine running, very slowly add the oil in a thin steady stream. After the aioli has formed, check seasoning for salt and pepper. Quickly pulse in lemon juice. Aioli can be refrigerated in airtight container for up to a day. Serves 4. –Jill Santopietro for CHOW.com.