Impromptu Seafood Stew becomes a hit
By Sue Knorr
Remember the tongue twister "She sells sea shells by the seashore?" A meal that highlights shellfish doesn't have to be dripping in butter or covered with a layer of thick batter to be irresistible. For a change of pace, try this simple seafood stew. I threw it together recently out of necessity. Guests were coming at the last minute, and the only substantial amount of protein I had in the house was a one-pound bag of mixed shellfish. I combined it with my basic ratatouille recipe and voila, a delicious one-bowl meal! It was a big hit with my guests, and it has quickly become a family favorite.
A few tips, the vegetables in this recipe are loaded with flavor so keep the seasonings simple and on the light side, just a hint of additional flavor. Cutting the vegetables in larger chunks makes this dish more interesting. Also, be sure not to overcook the vegetables and the shellfish.
One of my tricks in the kitchen with dishes that contain onions as one of the main flavoring agents is to keep some powdered or granulated onion on hand. I've found the intensity of the flavor of onions varies among varieties. A little onion powder goes a long way to adjust the taste if needed. This recipe is a great way to use up some of your garden surplus or the overflow from your community-supported agriculture share. Enjoy!
Sue's Seafood Stew
Serves 4 (approximately 4 blocks per serving)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, split into 2 equal portions
- 1 large sweet onion (Vidalia or similar), large diced
- 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 large yellow or orange pepper, large diced
- 1 medium to large eggplant, cut into ¾ inch cubes
- 2 medium zucchini, sliced
- 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes (or 4-5 medium tomatoes, large diced)
- ¾ cup chicken broth or water
- Basil, to taste
- Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 1¼ lbs. assorted shellfish, fresh or frozen (my preference, a mix of shrimp, bay scallops and calamari)
- In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil for a few minutes.
- Add the peppers and garlic and cook a few minutes longer.
- Add the zucchini and eggplant, cooking until tender. Make sure the eggplant is cooked through.
- Add the tomatoes, broth or water, basil, sea salt and ground pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes.
- In another skillet, over medium heat, sauté the shellfish in 1 tablespoon olive oil, just until translucent, taking care not to overcook.
- Add the shellfish mixture to the vegetable mixture, and serve.
- Distribute the blueberries equally among 4 bowls and serve for dessert.
The vegetable portion of this recipe can be made the day before. The following day reheat the vegetables while you quickly sauté the shellfish, and then combine the two. Shellfish is best when cooked just before serving.