Friday, October 16, 2015

My Maine Seafood Stew (serves 4-6)

This dish is inspired by a fisherman's stew known as cioppino. I have made this dish in the past and it was always tasty with or without the wine. This time I am using a variety of seafood--salmon, swordfish, lobster, shrimp, crab, steamers (clams), mussels and squid. The seafood is cooked in a tomato-red wine sauce with some of the mussel and clam juice. My parents stopped by on their way home to Maine. My sweet little brother left his wife and two kids to spend a week with my parents for my father's birthday. They flew to Denver, Colorado and drove over 2000 miles for some spectacular sight seeing. They also met up with their childhood friends (from Soctrang, Vietnam) and one of my brother's best friends (from Bangor, Maine). They tell me the mountains were amazingly beautiful and the birch trees have golden leaves at this time of the year. Happy birthday Pá!

happy birthday Pá!!
My Maine Seafood Stew (serves 4-6)

Ingredients:

3 roma tomatoes (seeds removed), roughly chopped
1/2 cup of parsley leaves and stalk, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried red chili flakes
5 garlic cloves, smashed and diced
1/2 onion (about 1/2 cup) chopped
2 uncooked Italian sausages, sliced into bite size pieces
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bunch of scallions (about 3/4 cup) chopped
2 roma tomatoes (seeds removed), chopped
1/2 lb swordfish steak, 1-inch cubed
1 salmon steak (about 0.8 lb), scaled
1/3 cup red wine (any good drinking wine)
1 cup clam/mussel juice*
6 oz Maine lobster meat
2 oz Maine crab meat
10 large shrimp (shells removed, tail intact, back scored to remove the black veins)
1/2 lb squid, cut into rings and/or scored and cut into bite size
8 large Downeast steamer clams (about 1.1 lbs), cooked and removed from shells, rinsed to remove grits and sand
1 lb mussels, cooked and removed from shells, rinsed to remove grits and sand
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
2 Tbsp good fish sauce
A large pinch of sugar

Method:

1) In a blender add 3 chopped roma tomatoes and parsley stalks and leaves. Puree and set aside.
2) Heat a large pan or pot over medium high heat. Add oil.
3) Once the oil is heated add chili, garlic, onion, and sausages. Saute until the onion is soft.
4) Add thyme, scallions, and 2 chopped roma tomatoes. Saute about 2 minutes.
5) Add swordfish, salmon, pureed tomatoes/parsley, wine and clam/mussel broth. Once the liquid comes to a boil turn heat down a little. Cook for about 5 minutes. Turn the salmon and swordfish cubes to cook the other side.
6) Scatter lobster, crab, shrimp, squid, clams, and mussels over the pan or pot. Cook until the salmon and swordfish are cooked through. Add parsley the last 5 minutes of cooking.
7) Season with fish sauce and sugar.

*I cook the clams and mussels in about 1/2 cup water for about 5 minutes or until the clams and mussels opened up. I carefully remove the juice and leave the grits and shell bits behind. If you do not want to do this you can also purchase clam juice from the store. 
*My mother tells me she would make this a little differently. She would saute the squid, shrimp, lobster, crab meat and swordfish cubes in garlic/onion and a little oil. Once the raw seafood is just cooked then remove them from the pot to set aside. Cook everything else and then return the cooked items to the pan/pot at the end of cooking time. This will add more flavor. However you decide to cook this be careful not to overcook the seafood.
*A few photos below were sent to me from my brother, Phu. He took my parents out to Colorado for a week long visit.



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