One of the highlights of summer is throwing together a big pot of shell fish stew on the grill, a gathering of friends around an outdoor table, crusty loaf, glass of wine, and the freedom of a warm sunny day. Doesn't get much better than that! And every time, I am amazed at how utterly easy and fast this feast cooks up, yielding an impressively aromatic kettle of ocean abundance. And the only accompaniment needed is a perfectly crusty loaf of fresh bread to soak up the briny tomato rich broth.
If you love seafood and have never attempted such a culinary feat, take heart, this is really very easy, and the reward is lavish.
As with many homey stew dishes, the origins stem from old world simplicity, using what is on hand and improvising accordingly. No clams today? Then how about mussels? No shrimp around? How's the squid today? What's important is seafood, and lots of it, all bathing in a steamy broth consisting of garlic (of course) and onions, wine and tomato. So simple and so amazingly delicious. Cooked outside where the aromas can run free, you may just find the neighbors on your deck too!
Summer Shell Fish Stew
1/4 cup olive oil
4-6 garlic cloves chopped
1 large onion diced
1/2 large green pepper, diced
1 Tb smoked paprika
Red pepper flakes, if desired
1 lb raw Italian sausage, slightly frozen and cut into 1/2" pieces
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 1/2 cups tomato puree
2 dozen fresh scrubbed and cleaned clams and/or mussels
1 lb firm flesh fish, like black sea bass or halibut, cut into large pieces
1 lb sea scallops, white sinew removed
1 lb large shrimp peeled and devained
fresh chopped parsley for garnish
Have all ingredients prepared and ready; this'll go fast! Into a large pot, heat the oil and add the garlic, onion, and the sausage. Cook until the onions are translucent and the sausage is cooked. Remove lid and and lower the heat, add the smoked paprika; stir it in and let it sit for a minute or two to expand the flavor. Add the wine and tomato puree; cover and simmer for another 10 minutes. Add the clams/mussels and the fish, cook for 5 minutes or until the clams/mussels begin to open. Add the shrimp and scallops, cover and cook for another 2 minutes. The clams/mussels should be open and everything cooked to perfection! Remove from heat. Discard any unopened shells. Scatter the fresh parsley over it all and proudly bring it to the table where it becomes the perfect edible centerpiece for your summer soiree! Have plenty of fantastic bread on hand and enjoy!