( SERVES 6 )
The mix of seafood you use for this is your choice. Pick and mix from firm white fish chunks, fresh salmon pieces, squid, octopus, a little fresh or smoked eel, shellfish (in the shell), scallops and prawns. You need about 1kg of mixed fish and a mix of about 30 mussels, prawns or other shellfish.
- In a large pot with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, sweat off 2 medium onions diced, 2 sticks of celery diced, 3 cloves of garlic crushed, 1 carrot very finely diced, and a medium fennel bulb sliced into crescents.
- Once softened, pour in a glass of white wine and the juice of an orange.
- Add 4 medium-sized boiling potatoes that you have cubed, the zest of an orange and 2 cups of fish stock (recipe below) or water. Simmer this until the potato is tender.
- Scrub any shellfish you are using and cut up the fish into big bite-sized pieces. Drop these into the simmering stew and cook until the shells open. Discard any that remain closed after a few minutes. Season well with salt and pepper.
- Serve this steamy stew scattered with chopped parsley or the fronds that you trimmed from the fennel bulb.
Fish stock You may want to make your own fish stock. It is the quickest of stocks to make, and you can make a big batch and freeze it in smaller portions for future use. If you go fishing, freeze all the bones you have left after filleting until you have time to make stock. Good fish shops can also supply you with fish frames and heads.
- Rinse your fish bones, heads and trimmings in cold water. Avoid including too much skin; the fat layer that sits below the skin will muddy your stock.
- In a large pot add a bay leaf, parsley stalks, a sprig of thyme, a few peppercorns, diced celery, carrot and white onion. Sit the fish frames on top of this and cover with cold water. On a gentle heat, simmer for 20 minutes. Do not stir, just let the water bubble through the ingredients. Skim off any debris that forms on the surface. Remove from the heat and allow to settle.
- Carefully drain off the stock. You can pass this through a fine sieve or muslin for a clearer result.