Fish, Fennel and Saffron Stew

fish, fennel and saffron stew

Happy No-It’s-Not-Quite-Friday-Yet, where we continue our theme of Winter Stew! Today is a seafood stew, a somewhat new concoction according to Julie’s unadventurous childhood palate. We just didn’t eat much seafood, and I always, repeat always, associated stew with beef. But, I think I’m at least a little bit validated, because in researching seafood stews, they seem to mostly hail from Mediterranean Europe. I, on the other hand, did not.

fish, fennel and saffron stew

In fact, the stew I made for today has some Spanish inspiration, for sure. Saffron. Smoked paprika. Which of course made for an extremely flavorful pot of stew. After making this and eating off it for several days, I’m quite convinced that if you relegate stew to beef, as I did growing up, then you’re really missing out. Seafood stew is healthy, light, and the best part? It cooks quickly while tasting like it slow cooked all day.

Fish, Fennel and Saffron Stew

And, as with most soups and stews, leftovers only get better. And since my dear husband is of the firm belief that there’s a special place in hell for people who reheat fish in corporate break room microwaves, I’ve gotten to enjoy most of the leftovers! Yea for me! I hope y’all enjoy this one, we sure did. It’s especially wonderful with a cold glass of chardonnay to accompany it. Check back tomorrow – we’ll be concluding Winter Stew Week by eating our vegetables, like mom said we should!

Fish Fennel Saffron Stew

{One year ago: Homemade Old Bay Seasoning}

Source: adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine, February/March 2010

Ingredients:
2 tbs olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 medium fennel bulb, tops removed, cored, and chopped (reserve a few fennel fronds for garnish, if desired)
1 medium carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tbs tomato paste
½ cup dry white wine
1 (15 oz.) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 large sprig of fresh thyme
¼ tsp smoked Spanish paprika
2 pinches saffron
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 lb. skinless thick white fish, such as cod or halibut, cut into 1-inch chunks

Directions:
Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, fennel, carrot, and bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the wine, bring to a simmer, and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add 3 ½ cups water, the beans, thyme, paprika, saffron, and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the vegetables are tender and the stew has thickened slightly, about 25 minutes.
Add the fish and stir to combine. Let the fish cook through; this only takes 2-4 minutes, so don’t walk away.
When the fish has cooked through, which you’ll know because it will start flaking apart, shut off the heat and season to taste with more salt and pepper, if needed. Serve in bowls immediately.

2 Responses to Fish, Fennel and Saffron Stew

  1. Julie,
    I’m really glad it’s not Friday, because after spending the bulk of today getting caught up on the 250 blog posts in my email box, some from last year even, I need another day to get done all the work for #AppetizerWeek that I blew off today!
    This stew looks very comforting–I admit I’m not usually a seafood in stew fan (give me sushi, or a fish steak, or other dry fish dish) but I’d like to taste it as it looks delicious.
    Thanks!

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