Many a rotten day can quickly be turned around after feasting upon food which brings us comfort. These foods are generally carbohydrate and/or sugar laden, but boy do they please. And even though many soups are healthy, it can still be the sort of comfort food which powerfully transforms our moods, ranking right up there with mac & cheese, mashed potatoes, and ice cream. This seafood stew can be assembled in less than 45 minutes and you will be rewarded with a lively, flavorful broth which will please your senses. I've loosely adapted this recipe from The Gourmet Cookbook; it's a lot less fussy and far quicker to prepare than the original version. Frozen fish is a staple in my freezer, especially those bags of talapia or mahi-mahi from Costco. The convenience of this dish allows you to simply pull fish from the freezer and throw it into the simmering, fragrant broth.
Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
Salt to taste
1 pound plum tomatoes, chopped
1 cup dry white wine
8 oz clam juice
4 cups plain water, or seafood stock, or vegetable stock, or chicken stock
1/2 cup frozen corn
3/4 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined
4-6 fish fillets (I have had success with talapia, mahi-mahi, and snapper)
1.) Make broth: heat oil in large, heavy pot over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Add onion, celery and carrots; cook, stirring, for approximately 5 minutes, until vegetables begin to soften. Add garlic and mushrooms, continue to cook additional 3-5 minutes. Add saffron, bay leaves, crushed red pepper (optional), salt (I generally use approximately 3/4 teaspoon of Kosher salt); cook another 3-5 minutes. Add plum tomatoes and continue cooking, stirring occasionally for another 3-5 minutes. Add wine, clam juice, and water or stock; lower heat to medium-low and continue simmering until liquid is reduced to your preferred thickness.
2.) Add corn and seafood. Put lid on pot, and allow steam to cook seafood through, approximately 8-10 additional minutes. Discard bay leaf. Ladle into bowls and enjoy.