Zuppa di Pesce (Italian Fish & Seafood Stew)
Recipe type: Seafood, Stew, Soup, Dinner, Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 generous entrees or 8 first courses
Feel free to improvise with whatever fish and shellfish looks good and fresh. I like to use a firmer white fish such as monkfish or halibut, along with shrimp, scallops, and clams. I doubt you'd hear any complaints if you tossed in a few mussels or swapped out the shrimp for lobster. Serve Zuppa di Pesce with garlic-rubbed crostini.
  • 1⅓# Monkfish Loin, cut in 4 fillets
  • 8 U15 Sea Scallops
  • 8 Jumbo Brown Shrimp, cleaned, tail left on, shells reserved(*see notes)
  • 1½# Manila Clams
  • ½ large Yellow Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium bulb Fennel, thinly sliced, a few fennel fronds reserved
  • 2 cloves (or more!) Garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 c. Dry White Wine
  • 2 14.5 oz cans San Marzano Tomatoes, crushed
  • 3 c. Broth(*see notes) or water
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Rustic Italian Bread or Baguette, toasted, rubbed with garlic, and drizzled with olive oil
  1. Pat the monkfish and scallops dry and season with salt. Coat a heavy bottomed pot with olive oil and place over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, sear the monkfish on all sides, about 8 minutes total. Remove from pan and place on a rimmed plate or shallow bowl (so the juices don't escape!). Add more oil if needed and sear the scallops on both sides, 1-2 minutes per side. Remove and reserve, along with the monkfish.
  2. Add a little more olive oil to the same pot and sauté the onions and fennel until tender but not browned, about 5 minutes. Season with salt. Add garlic and red pepper flakes to a clear spot (add oil if the pan seems too dry) and sauté until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Deglaze with about a cup of white wine, scrapping up all of the bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. Let most of the wine evaporate then add the crushed tomatoes and broth or water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, until flavors have united.
  3. After 15-20 minutes of simmering, add the monkfish, nestling it into the tomato-y broth, along with any accumulated juices. Continue to simmer.
  4. After about 10 minutes, add the shrimp and clams and continue to simmer until the shrimp have almost cooked and the clams and almost opened, 5-10 minutes, depending on the size. At this point, add the scallops, along with any juices, and simmer for another 2 minutes or so until the clams have all opened, the shrimp are cooked and the scallops are heated. Taste broth, add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, as needed
  5. Divide seafood between bowls and ladle broth, fennel, and onions over the top. Drizzle with olive oil (the good stuff!) and sprinkle with the reserved fennel fronds. Serve with toasted, garlic-rubbed bread.
Use the shrimp shells and the fennel stalks to make a quick, light shellfish broth. Quarter an onion, chop 2 carrots, chop fennel stalks and sauté for a minute or 2. Cover with water, add shrimp shells, some fennel fronds, a bay leaf, a few sprigs of parsley, and a couple peppercorns and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain and you have a light, delicate broth to use in your zuppa. An alternative is to simply use water, but leave the shrimp in their shells. This will yield a similar result but is a little more of a mess for your guests.
Recipe by strawberryplum at http://www.strawberryplum.com/zuppa-di-pesce-italian-fish-seafood-stew/