Summery Seafood Stew
• 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 1 fennel bulb, base and stalks trimmed, first outer hard layer removed, finely chopped
• 1 large leek, white part only, finely chopped
• 8 green prawns, peeled
• 500g white fish fillets, such as snapper or blue-eyed cod, cut into bite-sized pieces
• 3-4 chervil and/or tarragon sprigs
• 4 ripe roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
• 100ml white wine (optional)
• 16 pipis or clams
• 1 handful flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, chopped
• 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
• 600ml fish bone broth, warmed (recipe below)
• Salt and freshly ground pepper, to season
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium–low heat. Add the fennel and leek and cover with a lid. Cook for 10–15 minutes, stirring occasionally as the leek and fennel soften.
Add the garlic and cook for a further 2–3 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and add the prawns, pipis, half the chervil and/or tarragon stalks/leaves and tomatoes. Add the wine and warm for a couple of minutes without the lid on.
Pour in the broth and bring it up to a simmer. Once the broth is simmering, add the fish. When the pipis have opened up (an occasional one might not open, just discard), carefully spoon the stew into warmed serving bowls, and pour over the broth. Take care not to pour all the broth out right to the bottom as some grit from the pipis may have gathered at the base of the pot.
Scatter over some parsley, chervil or tarragon leaves, add a pinch of salt and a grind of black or white pepper, and serve with crusty bread to dunk into the nourishing broth.
FAST FISH BONE BROTH
MAKES ABOUT 2L
• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 1⁄2 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
• 1 leek, white part only, roughly chopped
• 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
• 1kg fish bones and heads
• A handful of mixed fresh chervil, tarragon and parsley
(stalks and leaves)
• 125ml white wine or 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
• 1.5L filtered water
This bone broth is so fast to make, and trust me when I say it is not at all ‘fishy’ tasting. Often fish heads give out the most healthy gelatine of all the bone types, with so little effort. Heat the oil in a large pot over a medium–low heat. Add the onion, leek and celery and gently cook until the onion is soft.
Add the fish bones and heads, crunching them down deeper into the pot. Add the white wine or vinegar, swirling around to reduce slightly and then add the water.
Increase the heat and bring the water to the boil, uncovered.
Once boiling, reduce the heat to very low so that the broth barely sends a bubble up to break the surface. Cook for about 1 hour.
Strain into a glass container through a fine sieve or colander lined with a clean muslin cloth. Discard the bones but, if you wish, pick through the head to remove any of the flesh to eat.
Cool, then store in the fridge for a couple of days to use as needed, or freeze.