I’m about to get the f*@k outta this insanely frigid ice dome they call NYC and jet to
a tropical island paradise for a minute (I’m back teaching at Flywheel Friday next week, so it’ll
be a quick thaw). Before heading out, I wanted to drop two things that’ll be sure to
warm you up: my favorite seafood stew recipe and a winter wonderland playlist.
Winter food is fun. I crave stews, soups, hot teas and spicy food to stay warm and
feel cozy at home. I love staying in to warm up our small apartment with heat
generated in the kitchen. While I tend to stay away from those heavy meat-based
dishes that don’t really agree with my tummy, I gravitate toward bean, chicken and
seafood based dishes.
One of my absolute favorite stews is my seafood one that I have been “refining” for a few
years now. I make it year round, but in the winter I tend to add more of the root
vegetables that are in season, like sweet potatoes. Because I’m absurdly obsessed
with eggplant, I also add my salted, roasted favorite purple vegetable on top!
I also vary the ingredients, definitely spicing it up when it’s cold outside. There’s
nothing better than pairing this stew with a nice white wine and dense moist seed
bread (I love the one from Organic Pharmer).
Seafood Stew with Eggplant
1 ½ pounds firm white fish, I am loving Hake right now. I cut it into 2 inch chunks
and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and spices (I use orgegano, coriander, and ground fennel)
and almond flour.
1 lbs mussels
½ pound scallops
Rock shrimp – I get the really sweet little ones from Lobster Place, but you can use
regular raw shrimp too.
One large eggplant, cubed and salted (for about 20 min)
Sweet potato, cubed
2 small fennel bulbs – thinly sliced (I love to use the Mandolin)
1/2 onion chopped
2 large garlic cloves chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Roasted tomatoes or sundried tomatoes in oil
1-2 cups clam juice
1 cup white wine (quality of wine must be good even though you are cooking with
1 cup chicken broth or seafood stock
1 cup water
Chopped parsley to add at the end
Steam sweet potatoes until al dente. Rinse with cold water to stop cooking as soon
as they are just shy of tender. Pat down eggplant, douse with olive oil and roast at
415 degrees for about 30 minutes or until they are slightly browned and soft.
Put both sweet potatoes and eggplant aside until you add to stew at the VERY end.
While those two veggies are cooking, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and a few pats of
butter over med-high heat in a large / deep pot. Brown the fish until the pieces are
slightly crispy on all sides, but the fish is NOT done in the middle, put aside. Using
just a lil’ butter is OK and renders a really nice crispy brown exterior to pan frying.
Using the same pot, wipe away any extra oil or add more if necessary. You should
have about 2 tablespoons of liquid. Over medium heat, add chopped onion, fennel,
and garlic and sauté until translucent – about 5-8 minutes depending.
Add tomato paste, fresh thyme and bay leaf and stir for a minute. Add clam juice,
white, water and stock. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes to
Add clams to pot, cover and let them open – about 4 min. As soon as they are open,
add the mussels and scallops. Shake that around gently a few times and as soon as
the mussels are open, add the eggplant, sweet potatoes, raw shrimp and finally the
fish placed gently on top.
Cover and let the last three additions warm up – this should take only a few minutes.
Carefully with a long big serving spoon, plate the stew so that you are digging,
getting all the ingredients, a cup or so of broth and a piece or two of fish to place on
top. Garnish with chopped parsley and add S/P to taste.
I hope that keeps you warm and cozy until I return!