Valentine's Day. The obligatory holiday from the Romantic Industrial Complex that compels everyone to spend money on cards, chocolate and overpriced surf & turf. Or you could stay home. A home-cooked meal far outweighs the experience at a dimly lit restaurant's less-than inspired prix fixe menu.
Thinking about what to do for dinner? You can't go wrong with this easy-to-make Italian-style seafood stew filled with fish, shrimp and mussels in a tomato-based broth. Don't forget to buy a loaf of crusty bread for dipping.
2 T extra virgin olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 medium white onion, diced
1 large fennel bulb, diced
1 28-oz can of whole tomatoes, hand crushed
4 T tomato paste
1 quart seafood stock or clam juice
1 cup dry white wine
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 lb mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
1 lb uncooked shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 lb firm white fish fillets, such as cod or sea bass, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 T Italian parsley, minced
1 loaf of crusty Italian bread
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and fennel and saute for 10 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for 2 minutes.
Add in tomato paste, hand-crushed tomatoes, seafood stock, white wine, salt and pepper. Stir and bring pot to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover pot and simmer until flavors meld, around 30 minutes.
Add in mussels and stir. Cover pot and cook for 5 minutes until mussels start to open. Add in fish fillets and shrimp. Cook for 5 more minutes until shrimp and fish are fully cooked. Season soup with more S&P to taste. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle in fresh parsley. Serve with crusty bread.
Bone Apple Tea, as the kids say.