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Fish Stew with Shrimp, Cod, Clams and Sausage

Fish Stew with Shrimp, Cod, Clams and Sausage
 
I love fish stews of all types but there's one problem I'd never solved until now: when I use white fish in the stew it tends to fall apart and get lost. The taste is there but the pleasure of the individual pieces of fish is lost. 

This recipe, based loosely on traditional Portuguese stews, addresses this issue nicely by preparing the white fish separately and then arranging it over the stew when it's brought to the table. The fish is instantly promoted from background player to star of the show! (Note that linquica is the traditional sausage for the Portuguese version; I used turkey sausage with a dash of hot sauce to keep the calories and sodium numbers within reasonable limits.)

I served this at our table the other night when the winter winds here Maine were howling mightily. We cozied up to the fire and ate this hearty soup, with a crusty Tuscan-style bread and a crisp Pinot Grigio, and gave thanks for the warmth of the hearth and the snugness of good insulation.  

Fish Stew with Shrimp, Cod, Clams and Sausage

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 pound cod fillets, skinless
  • 6 ounces fresh Maine shrimp, shelled (see note for alternatives)
  • 8 medium clams
  • 6 ounces calamari (squid), cleaned
  • 4 ounces sweet Italian turkey sausage
  • 6 cups red shrimp broth (see note for recipe and alternatives) 
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Hot sauce or freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup corn flour
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Parsley, minced, for garnish (optional)

Method

1. Wash the cod, shrimp and clams. Cut the cod into 4 serving pieces. 

2. Cut the calamari tubes into 1/4" thick rings. Leave the tentacle clusters whole. 

3. Cut the sausage in 1/4" slices. 

4. Mix the flour and cornmeal and spread on a plate. Lay the cod on the mixture and leave it to rest on the cornmeal mixture. 

5. Bring the broth to a low boil in a roomy saucepan. Add the lemon juice, sausage, clams and calamari. Maintain a low boil until the clams open – about 20 minutes. 

6. Meanwhile, place the oil in a heavy sauté pan on medium-high heat. The pan should be large enough to hold the fillets comfortably. When the oil is just starting to smoke, add the cod fillets, breaded side down. Sauté the fish for four minutes without disturbing. Turn the fish and reduce the heat to medium. Add enough of the broth to come about halfway up the thickness of the fillets and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove to a warm plate and strain the remaining broth back into the saucepan.

7. When the clams have opened, stir in the shrimp and allow them to cook for about 90 seconds. Remove from heat and correct the seasoning if necessary. (Some people like a bit of a bite to the broth for this type of soup so hot sauce is appropriate, or black pepper.)

To serve, use a slotted spoon to lift clams, shrimp, sausage and calamari into each bowl. Spoon broth over them and then lay a piece of cod over each bowl. Garnish with parsley if desired. Serve with a crusty bread, dry white wine and fresh ground black pepper. 

Notes.

1. Maine Shrimp: use any available alternative type of shrimp if fresh Maine shrimp aren't available. 

2. Red shrimp broth is easy if you have accumulated some shrimp shells in your freezer:

1 quart shrimp shells, tails and heads (from about 2 lb shrimp)
2 tablespoons C olive oil
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1 can whole tomatoes, with juice (14 ounce can)

Sauté the shrimp shells in the oil over high heat, stirring, until they all turn pink. Reduce the heat, add the garlic and tomatoes and simmer for 2 hrs. Purée the sauce in a blender and strain through a fine sieve. If necessary add water to make 6 cups. 

3. Alternative broth (quicker) if you don't have or want to make shrimp broth:

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion or leeks and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Add 1 clove garlic, minced, and cook another minute. Add 3 cups water; 1 -2 cups fish trimmings, shrimp or lobster shells, etc.; a cup and a half of canned tomatoes, cut up, with their juices; a teaspoon of dried oregano; and a pinch of saffron. Simmer 20 minutes, then strain and proceed from Step 5, above, adding water to make 6 cups if necessary.

Nutritional Estimate: 4 Servings. Per serving: 299 g Calories; 10 g Total Carbs; 1 g Dietary Fiber; 1 g Sugars; 5 g Fat; 236 mg Cholesterol; 421 mg Sodium; 44 g Protein. Weight Watchers: 6 points.

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Comments

What a good view... Thanks for the recipe...

It's so great to see someone specifically using Maine shrimp. The Gloucester Fishermen's Wives Association started a Community-Supported Fisheries operation this year, and those amazing shrimp were part of it. This recipe looks good enough to tempt me away from just the instant boil (which is better than lobster, if you ask me).

Hi Jane...

Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to leave your comment. Yes, I love those little guys...click this link http://www.stephencooks.com/maine-shrimp/Maine for a page showing all the other Maine shrimp recipes (10 altogether) on Stephencooks.com-- or click on the "Index by Ingredients" button on the upper left side of this page, then click on Maine Shrimp in the index to go to the Maine Shrimp page.

Have fun...theyre still in the markets...

Best, Stephen

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