A Hotelier’s Spicy Fish Stew

In One Good Meal, we ask cooking-inclined creative people to share the story behind a favorite dish they actually make and eat at home on a regular basis — and not just when they’re trying to impress.

She gets a weekly bushel of farm-fresh produce delivered to her door and tries to use everything in it. She also grows her own herbs and strawberries. And when she’s not sure how or what to prepare, she knows just who to ask: “I’ll call my brother and talk to him about any number of things about cooking — how I should finish something, how long something will hold.” One of Lambert’s current favorite dishes is a sibling collaboration she and Lou call Baja Bouillabaisse, essentially a Tex-Mex twist on the San Francisco fisherman’s stew known as cioppino.

Serves 6

For the chile purée

For the stew

1. To make the chile purée, heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the chiles to the dry pan. Allow the peppers to blister on each side, about 1 to 2 minutes per side, until aromatic. Transfer chiles to a small sauce pan and add the tomato and wine. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Stir the chiles, then cover the pot with a lid. Turn off the heat and allow the chiles to steep for 15 minutes. Transfer to a blender cup and purée until smooth. Reserve chile purée.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a large clay pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, shallots and serrano pepper. Sauté until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, pepper and bay leaf and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring to keep garlic from sticking.

3. Add the tomato paste to the pot and cook for 2 minutes while stirring. Stir in the chile purée, cooking for another minute. Add the diced tomatoes with their juice, the fish stock, half the basil, oregano and green onions. Bring the pot to a simmer, then cover and transfer the pot to the preheated 350-degree oven on the middle shelf. Allow the broth to cook until all the flavors come together, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasoning, adding salt if necessary.

4. Stir the remaining basil, oregano, green onion, parsley, cilantro, orange zest and juice into the broth. Add the clams and mussels to the simmering liquid. Cover and cook in the oven until they begin to open, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and add the shrimp and fish, covering with the liquid and gently simmering until they’re just cooked through, about 5 minutes.

5. Ladle the soup into six bowls. Garnish with basil and parsley. Serve with crusty bread or jasmine rice.

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