This is a meal in itself. It has quickly become a favourite Sunday night dinner. Once you’ve made the base add whatever fish and shellfish that you like. The pastis is optional but it does add a depth to the flavour as it works with the fennel and is a true taste of Provence. As usual my quantities are approximate as it’s one of those recipes that you can easily change around to suit your taste.
Ingredients and Method (for 4) :
Thinly slice 4 small fennel bulbs (or 2 large), 2 leeks and 3 sticks of celery.
Gently saute these in a little olive oil in a large pot. They need to be soft but not browned. Add 3 cloves of crushed garlic and about 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper (go gently with this as you don’t want it to be too spicy hot) or some chopped fresh chili.
If you’ve decided to use pastis add 2-3 tbsps now and let it sizzle for a minute.
Then add a pinch of saffron which you’ve soaked in a little boiling water. Also add 2 tins of chopped tomatoes in juice and the juice of 2 oranges with the zest of one.
Finally add about a litre or more of good quality fish stock (Essential Cuisine).
Let this all simmer for at least 20mins. Taste and season.
Then it’s time to add fish and seafood. Cut the fish into pieces (not too small). I like to have a mix of white fish like gurnard, fresh salmon, prawns and scallops. Mussels and cockles are also great. These will only take a minute or two to cook.
Serve immediately in large bowls. Sprinkle with a little chopped chervil, dill or the fluffy fennel fronds. Also good to serve with a dollop of garlicy aioli.