An Italian Tradition this Xmas Eve
My book, SUNDAY BEST DISHES has a treasure trove of recipes for seafood lovers. With this DISH OF THE DAY or any fish dish, I highly recommend a crisp Italian white wine pairing. Chardonnay, Moscato d’Asti, Sauvignon blanc, Pinot grigio or Soave; a few of these wines come from Venice, and are derived from the lemony garganega grape. So, so good for a special evening like tonight!
If you hail from Southern Italy, where the Vigilia di Natale and its savory fish courses this time of year originated, then you’ll appreciate salted cod fish in this stew. No matter where you’re from, tonight’s as good as it gets for celebrating all our blessings in this life. Sleep well, and awake to a beautiful Christmas Day, my friends.
Fast and Furious Fish Stew
MAKES 6 SERVINGS
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced, about 1 ½ cups
4 medium garlic cloves, minced, about 2 teaspoons
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 quart chicken broth
2 (8-ounce bottles) clam juice
1 ½ cups dry white wine
1 cup chili sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons Cajon Seasoning
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 or more drops hot pepper sauce
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound clams
1 pound mussels
1 pound large uncooked fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 20)
1 pound sea scallops
1 pound fresh fish fillets, like snapper or cod, cut into 1-inch cubes
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Cook the onion and garlic in the pot until just soft, about 8 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes, chicken broth, clam juice and white wine. Bring the sauce to a boil. Stir in the chili sauce, tomato paste, Cajun seasoning, fresh herbs and hot pepper sauce. Reduce the heat to medium. Simmer the sauce for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Place the clams and mussels into the sauce. Simmer for 3 minutes.
Add the shrimp and the scallops to the sauce. Simmer for 3 minutes more.
Add the fish to the sauce. Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes more, or until the fish is opaque and the mussels and clams have opened.
Serve the stew in bowls with crusty bread to slurp up the extra sauce.