Fish Stew: Like One of Ina Garten’s Recipes Only . . .


. . . easier ( and just as good).


Paso Robles Wine Country

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock and not reading my blog or downloading my book( link), you probably know my great affection for Mexico and all things Mexican.

So, it’s not surprising that one of my favorite little California towns is Paso Robles or La Ciudad del Paso de los Robles, with its leafy town plaza and wineries.

Okay, so now the town is sort of like Old Mexico meets Italy and Spain infused with San Francisco foodie culture. It was a great place to celebrate our anniversary this year before heading to the coast.

We wined and dined at the enchanting Villa Creek restaurant, the area’s old Mexico roots showing in the restaurant’s decor — oxblood colored walls, tapestries from Oaxaca, wooden box beams, austere Mission-style architecture, and of, course, a charming patio garden.

Villa Creek was serving a Fish Stew that was a lot like my recipe, and as it turns out a lot like Ina Garten’s recipe. What can I say? Great minds and all.

I thought I’d write this up for everyone. I have never served this dish that someone has not requested the recipe. It’s a lot easier than Ina Garten’s Fish Stew recipe.

The real trick to this is the quality of the seafood. I’ve used a combination of Cod, Monkfish, Filet of Sole, Shrimp, Scallops, and Clams. But, ALWAYS use shrimp and a little Filet of Sole. The Sole sort of falls apart, leaving a nice texture and some sweetness that I like. The total amount of fish shrimp and fish should equal four pounds.

Jane’s California Coast Fish Stew

(with a nod to France and the Mediterranean)

2 lbs. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 medium raw Idaho potato
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. hot pepper flakes
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsps. dried basil
1 tsp. leaf saffron, crumbled
2 whole cloves
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 cups peeled tomatoes, fresh or canned
1 cup dry white vermouth
1 lb cod cut into large pieces (or other white-fleshed fish like striped bass)
1/2 lb. filet of sole
1/2 pound monkfish cut into large pieces
( You could also use bay scallops, but throw them in at the end and cook just until opaque)
1 TBS. Pernod

1. Clean and shell shrimp and set aside
2. Peel the potato and split in half lengthwise. Cut each half into slices about half an inch thick. Drop the slices immediately into cold water and set aside.
3. Heat oil in a dutch oven. add onion and cook until translucent
4. Add the garlic, hot pepper, thyme, basil, saffron, cloves, salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes and vermouth and bring to a boil. Put through a food mill and return to skillet. Add the potato, cover and cook fifteen minutes.
5. Add the cod, monkfish and filet of sole. Partially cover the pot and cook eight minutes.
6. Add shrimp and cook about five minutes, partially covered
7. If adding bay scallops, throw them in after the shrimp has cooked about three minutes. Cook until scallops have just turned opaque,
8. Right before serving add the Pernod.

Serve this stew with crusty bread and a simple salad. A chilled Viognier would be the perfect wine.

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