Saffron Seafood Stew
Saffron is one of the most ancient and expensive spices. Hardworking hands must process 70,000 flowers to get one pound of saffron—but its unique flavor makes it well worth the cost.
3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups pearl onions, blanched and peeled
8 cups Double-Rich Fish Stock
1 large pinch saffron threads
2 dozen clams, scrubbed
2 dozen mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1 1⁄2 lbs. cod filets
18 large sea scallops
1⁄2 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp. chopped fresh chives
1. Bring potatoes, onions, and 6 cups of the fish stock to a gentle simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cover and cook until potatoes and onions are tender.
2. Meanwhile, toast saffron in a small skillet for 1 minute over high heat. Remove from heat and crumble threads with your fingers into simmering potatoes and onions.
3. Heat 1 cup of the remaining fish stock in a large sauté pan, add clams, cover, and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Add mussels, cover, and cook until all the shells open. (Discard any that don't.) Remove from heat; transfer clams and mussels to a large serving bowl. Strain poaching stock to remove any grit, and add to potatoes and onions.
4. In the same sauté pan, bring the last remaining cup of stock to a simmer over medium heat. Cut cod into pieces, about the same size as scallops. Add cod and scallops to the simmering stock and poach for 5 minutes. Transfer seafood to the serving bowl and set aside. Add stock to potatoes and onions.
5. Use a slotted spoon to strain most of the potatoes and onions from the stock and scatter over seafood. Leave about 1⁄2 cup potatoes in stock. Mash to slightly thicken stock, or purée in a food processor and return to pan, then raise heat, add cream, and boil for 5 minutes to reduce and thicken slightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour stock mixture into serving bowl over the seafood. Serve garnished with parsley and chives.