Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dreaming of the South of France and Seafood Stew


Lately I’ve been daydreaming about the South of France and my thoughts turned to the fragrant bouillabaisse that we shared with friends at a bistro in the Vieux-Port area of Marseille several years ago. Unfortunately I happen to be far from the  steps of the Mediterranean Sea at the moment, so I’m unlikely to find the variety of fish that is abundant there. But I’m not letting that stop me from  making a fish stew.


I normally use a mild flavored white fish, such as halibut in this stew. However, we eyed a bag of assorted octopus, cuttlefish and squid in the frozen seafood section of our local market the other day and decided to use it instead. It was a success and we will definitely use it again when we can get our hands on it. However, don’t let not finding that seafood assortment stop you from making it. It’s a terrific stew no matter what kind of mild fish you find in your market. Maybe you'll even dream of Marseille.


Seafood Stew
Adapted from Pierre Franey’s Low Calorie Gourmet – serves 6

3 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
½ cup chopped fennel (excluding the leaves)
½ cup peeled and chopped carrot
½ cup chopped leek, cleaned, white part only
1 dried hot red pepper, crushed
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chopped canned whole tomatoes
2 cups water
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound bag of frozen mixed seafood containing octopus, cuttlefish and squid – or - if unavailable, 1 pound boneless white-fleshed, nonoily fish such as halibut, striped bass or red fish, cut into ¾” cubes
1 tablespoon Pernod, Ricard, or any other anise flavored liqueur (optional, but will impart the flavor of the South of France and Marseille)
½ pound small scallops
½ pound shrimp, preferably wild caught, peeled and deveined
18 mussels
18 small to medium sized clams
¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Heat the olive oil in a kettle and add the onion, garlic, fennel, carrot, and leek. Cook the vegetables until they wilt, taking care not to burn the garlic.

Add the crushed hot pepper, bay leaf, thyme, wine, tomatoes, water, and Pernod if using.


Bring the mixture to a boil and add the salt and pepper. Cover the kettle tightly and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the frozen seafood mixture (or the fish) along with the Pernod if using and cook for 2 – 3 minutes. Add the scallops, shrimp, mussels, and clams. Cook for another minute or two until the mussels and clams have opened, discarding any that do not open. Take special care not to overcook the seafood.

Sprinkle the stew with the parsley and serve immediately with crusty toast fingers  or a French baquette to soak up the briny juices of the stew.



Here’s to dreaming of seafood from the Mediterranean Sea and the South of France. Bon Appetit! 

I will be linking this seafood stew to Miz Helen’s Country Cottage Full Plate Thursday and Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum.

56 comments:

  1. Part of travelling is recreating food memories in your home kitchen. I am sure this recipe took you back to France Sam.

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  2. A splendid stew and beautiful post! Thanks for sharing this recipe with us.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  3. Sam,
    Just wonderful. I have never seen a frozen mixture like you described. I shall have to look. I feel quite brave as we are going to cook duck breasts this weekend!

    Your photographs are stunning.

    Carol

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  4. I also have wonderful memories of Provence. I always wanted to make bouillabaisse, but thought it was too complicated. Love this recipe that is also healthy. Now, to find the seafood I need. Thank you for posting this one Sam.
    Rita

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  5. Living in the midwest, I let the lack of fresh seafood keep me from making such wonderful dishes. You've encouraged me to try frozen. Looks wonderful.

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  6. Absolutely delightful...yes, we often have those dreams of being in Provence and other parts of France....sigh.....

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  7. What a beautiful looking soup Sam. I've never tried making it and will save this recipe. Love the addition of pernod. We're joining friends for dinner tonight at our local favorite French Restaurant ... if bouillabaisse is on the menu I'll know it's a "sign". :)

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  8. It sounds wonderful. While in France, I did not get to the Mediterranean Sea, maybe next time...

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  9. I have been dreaming of France also:) And my friend leaves for Paris tomorrow..
    I think once you have been.. to Provence etc.. you never forget..the feeling comes home with you and then you long for it..
    This looks smashing:)

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  10. l0ooks delicious Sam...hop on the plane for a visit!
    ronelle

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  11. Great photography! This looks amazing. I am making my first trip to Paris in October. Someday I will make it to the South!

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  12. You are willing me to create this today - it's 11 degrees below zero and if I can turn my kitchen into the South of France - I will. I just don't want to go out for ingredients! (Maybe when it's zero out!)

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  13. Oh my, just look at that display of fish! I would be in heaven in a market like that. Isn't it wonderful the way flavors and aromas bring back such vivid memories?

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  14. Where did you find such gorgeous looking shrimp? This is so light and fresh, I would love to give this a try.

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  15. I will never forget being in Cannes on my last honeymoon and going down to the marina area to a wonderful quai-side restaurent called Gaston & Gastonette...where we had this blissful "fish soup." We went back & took all our friends, and each time we returned to Cannes we always visited the place again and again. I've never had a recipe, I trust you, and I'm going to try this as soon as I get moved into my new home. xx's Sam

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  16. Un excellent plat de crustacés
    Je te souhaite une agréable soirée

    Valérie.

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  17. I just love, love, love seafood stew and this looks wonderful, Guess I am off the fish market tomorrow :) Diane

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  18. This is a bowl of all my favorite foods, Sam. I could live on this soup :)

    I love the photo of the fish market..ooh la la!

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  19. This stew is a thing of beauty. I love how certain recipes can transport you back to a special time or place.

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  20. Lovely plate, elegant presentation, and my favorite bouillabaisse...

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  21. Now I'm dreaming of the S of France too and maybe Pernod. Love this, have never made seafood stew.

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  22. A fantastic seafood stew! I am drooling at the whole display of seafood!

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  23. I really love mixed seafood dishes like this! This recipe sounds very much like my favorite Cioppino recipe. Now to get my hands on some lovely bi-valves and crustaceans :) Looks delicious, Sam!

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  24. I wrote up a comment, but I guess I failed to send it. This looks absolutley outstanding Sam, and I saved it.

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  25. Dreaming of fabulous dream destinations is a really good thing, I think! :)

    Your fish stew looks rich, lovely & well flavoured too, dear Sam! :)


    Yummmm,...!:)

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  26. This looks delicious. Maybe you'll find yourself in the south of France one day soon. :)

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  27. Today is a rainy day here and a good one to dream about the south of France. I've been thinking about buying and cooking mussels this past week maybe your lovely post, recipe and photos will push me into action!

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  28. looks lovely and what a wonderful area to dream about :-) have a fab weekend Sam

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  29. I am a huge seafood fan (as you may have guessed by my previous post) and this is a recipe that I'll try.

    I noticed that the recipe was from Pierre Franey, I used to love watching his cooking shows, he was such an enjoyable person!

    Have a lovely weekend!

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  30. oui, oui...a seafood stew and crusty bread...it doesn't get much better. Very nice recipe with layers of flavor.

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  31. Hi Sam,
    This brings back so many lovely memories of my time in France. This is a beautiful stew and a beautiful post. Hope you are having a great week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

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  32. Wow, the colors are so vibrant in that dish that I almost have to wear sunglasses to look at it! (ha ha)

    With your love of French cooking, this is probably a silly question but have you ever toured the French influenced restaurants in New Orleans area?

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  33. Hi Sam,

    I read your comment on Ronelle's posting (My French Kitchen) and became intrigued.

    So great to find you, now it is just a problem to KEEP finding you and checking on your writings.

    All joys to you,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

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  34. Oooh, I bet this stew smells like France! It looks wonderful. I need to make this!

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  35. I love to cook a meal that carries me back to my travels.
    This is beautiful!

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  36. Looks both gorgeous and delicious...yum! I want to share one of your recipes for a Sunday Supper post sometime soon? Would that be ok? Thanks for your kind words of encouragement in the loss of my dear Cappi. XO, Mona

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  37. I believe those shrimp were calling my name! Sounds marvelous!

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  38. Although I can't eat shrimp, I can at least dream and drool over your recipe and photos. The shrimp are the perfect color! France is so awesome; too bad that when I was there in the 80's the exchange rate was so high I was eating only baguettes and drinking Cokes!

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  39. Oh Sam! I love bouillabaisse and am thrilled to see your recipe (low cal!) and how you created it with available market fish.

    Your photos are just stunning as usual!

    Bises,
    Genie

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  40. If only fresh seafood were always available to us like it is elsewhere! I can dream right? I have been wanting to do a seafood stew this winter and yours looks amazing. Love the seafood you used and the colors and flavors!

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  41. What a delightful recipe, Sam. Looks fabulous, presents perfectly and the flavors sound perfect. Love recipes that remind you of happy vacations!

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  42. C'est une magnifique recette
    et avec des mets délicieux
    à bientôt

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  43. I can't think of anything better to dream about! Your stew looks simply delicious -
    mary x

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  44. I like it, i agree that when you cook something you saw in your trips thats a good way to come back and remember the feelings of that trip. Definitely i´ll try it because i have good memories not on france but in south of italy.

    Nice recipe

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  45. Oh, Sam! This is just beautiful and has me salivating! My dad once tried to make bouillabaisse at home and it was, well, less than great! I'm wanting to try it!

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  46. Sam, if you are dreaming of France then you must return! Yay! And this is beautiful fish stew, just luscious! Those big plump shrimp, the mussels and clams are calling my name. Fantastic recipe! You know, I have never made a seafood or fish stew before. Now I must!

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  47. that is such a beautiful presentation, looks delicious!!

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  48. What a delicious sounding recipe, and mouth watering images!!

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  49. I love seafood stew, unfortunately my husband is not into it...so I just eat when in fish restaurants...yours look great, and even nicer with travel memories :)
    Hope you are having a great day Sam!

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  50. So much goodness in one bowl!

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  51. I've been dreaming about Provence too lately. Sherry Page is there hosting her extravagant truffle trip right now and I wish I was there too. Pernod takes this fish soup to a completely new level.

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  52. Oh my god. This is just out of the world

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  53. Dear Sam, You whisked me to the Mediterranean just looking at that beautiful dish. Bravo! Blessings, Catherine xo

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I enjoy reading each and every comment. I appreciate your taking the time to visit my blog and I hope you'll return again soon.
Sam