Provencal Fish Stew and Snow Days

Maybe you heard on the news that Denver was hit with an epic storm. Well, I am looking out my window and it doesn’t seem so epic here. In fact the sun is out and the snow totals were not unusual. But it was enough to scare the district into the first snow day of the year (although I know for a fact we had to go to school earlier this year in much worse conditions). So I was able to sleep in and get caught up on a little cleaning, so I am not complaining. I needed it. The final snow count where I am was 11.5 inches. Certainly not of epic proportions.

This is a picture of my two dogs Clementine Marie and Malitda Ann Justice. They love the snow more than anything. This christmas my aunt, although well intentioned, gave the odd gift of fish. The package was was a medley of different kinds of frozen fish, all in small prepackaged portions. The problem is there was not two of anything. So if I was to make a dinner for my husband and I, I would have to prepare two different types of fish. So I solved the problem by making a fish stew. You can use what ever fish you have on hand, or go buy expensive clams and mussels as the original recipe calls for. But sometimes you make do with what you have.  So nothing could possibly taste better than a warm fish stew on a snow day.

Provencal Fish Stew (adapted from The Girl and the Fig Cookbook)

3 tablespoons canola oil
1 onion, julienne
2 stalks celery, julienne
1 fennel bulb, julienne
1 pinch saffron
3 cloves whole garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper to taste
2 8-ounce cans stewed tomatoes, with juice (or if you have frozen garden tomatoes, 6 tomatoes)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 cup Pernod (or any other anis flavored liqueur)
salt & pepper
¾ pound salmon, cubed in 1-inch pieces
½ pound  shrimp
8 oz haddock
1 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Instructions

Heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and sauté the leeks, onion, celery, fennel, saffron and garlic until vegetables are translucent. Season with salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes, 2½ cups water, parsley and 6 tablespoons of Pernod. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. (Can be made a day ahead.)

In another large saucepan, heat the remaining canola oil and sear the haddock and salmon. Add the shrimp and toss together. Add the white wine and the remaining Pernod. Reduce the mixture by half (about 2-3 minutes). Add the tomato mixture and bring to a boil. Cook until the clams and mussels open. Add the butter and adjust seasoning.

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