Provencal Seafood Stew

All hail the hearty halibut! That’s the song you’ll be singing after you try out this stew. Many people avoid halibut because they don’t think of it as a tasty fish, but all it needs is the right accompaniments. That’s exactly what it gets in this savory French stew, which is rich in aromatics including fennel, leek, and thyme. People equate French food with overly rich Parisian fare, but dishes from the Provence region are much closer to their Mediterranean (that is, healthier) kin. Topping the stew with Parsley Pistou (p. 175) got me a sitting ovation from the assembled crew (hey, they would have stood, but they already had their napkins spread over their laps). In the restaurant world, we would call this stew a “well-appointed dish.” In my house we just call it “wow!”

Ingredients

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large leek, diced small

1 shallot, diced small

1 fennel bulb, diced small

1 carrot, peeled and diced small

Sea salt

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons fresh thyme or ¼ teaspoon dried

½ teaspoon fennel seed

¼ cup dry white wine

1 (14 ½ ounce) can diced tomatoes

3 cups Classic Magic Mineral Broth (p. 44) or Chicken stock

1 pound halibut fillet, cut into 1 ½ inch pieces

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

½ teaspoon lemon zest

1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Parsley Pistou (p. 175) for garnish (or pesto)

Method

Heat the olive oil in a 4 to 5 quart pot over medium-high heat. Add the leek, shallot, fennel, carrot, and ¼ teaspoon of salt and sauté until the vegetables begin to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, thyme, and fennel seed. Add the wine and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes with their juice and deglaze the pan. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Gently stir in the fish and shrimp and simmer until the seafood is tender and cooked through ( it should be just opaque), about 4 minutes.

Add the lemon zest, black pepper, and parsley. Taste; you may want to add a pinch or two of sea salt. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls, garnish each with a spoonful of parsley pistou, and serve immediately.

Cook’s Note: The pistou takes this soup to the next level; however, if you don’t have time to make it, here’s a shortcut: garnish with ¼ cup of chopped parsley, 1 teaspoon of lemon zest, and a spritz of lemon juice.

Parsley Pistou

1 cup tightly packed fresh parsley leaves

½ cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 teaspoons garlic

Sea salt

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Combine the parsley, basil, lemon juice, garlic, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and olive oil in a food processor and process until well blended. For a thinner drizzle, add a tablespoon of water and briefly process again. Taste: you may want to add a pinch of salt.


Reprinted with permission from The Healthy Mind Cookbook Copyright © 2015 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.  www.rebeccakatz.com