Breton Fish Stew
In this rustic fisherman's stew, the greater the variety of fresh fish, the better. Though it is a simple dish by nature, this recipe came from Breton chef Patrick Jeffroy, who dressed it up with saffron and shellfish.
4 tbsp. butter
2 small carrots, peeled and finely diced
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 leeks, white part only, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 lb. white potatoes, peeled and diced
3 lbs. assorted fish such as cod, halibut, hake,
red snapper, or monkfish
2 sprigs thyme
1 sprig dill
1 small pinch saffron threads
1 tbsp. grated orange zest
1 tbsp. grated lemon zest
6 cups fish stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups white wine
2 medium shallots, peeled and finely chopped
2 dozen mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1⁄2 lb. jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1. Melt butter in a large pot over medium-low heat. Cook carrots, onions, leeks, and garlic until soft, about 15 minutes. Add tomatoes and potatoes, and cook until potatoes are slightly tender, about 8 minutes.
2. Cut fish into pieces, about 2" square. Place fish on top of vegetables, thicker pieces on bottom, thinner pieces on top. Add thyme, dill, saffron, orange zest, lemon zest, and fish stock. Season with salt and pepper, cover, and cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Remove fish and vegetables and set aside. Reserve broth.
3. Meanwhile, place white wine and shallots in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and add mussels and shrimp. Cover and cook, shaking pan occasionally, until mussels open and shrimp turn pink, about 4 minutes. Remove shellfish with a slotted spoon, reserving liquid. Discard any mussels that don't open, and set pan aside for about 10 minutes so that any sand in the liquid will settle to the bottom.
4. Ladle shellfish liquid into fish broth and strain through a fine sieve. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange fish, vegetables, and shellfish in individual bowls and ladle broth on top. Serve with additional broth on the side.