All Things Yum: East Hampton Fish Stew, by Mary Waserstein

All Things Yum: East Hampton Fish Stew, by Mary Waserstein

I love fish and shell fish. Clams on the half shell with an ice cold beer are my happy spot. So, clams and their various cousins are the centerpieces of several of my favorite meals. I love to serve a giant platter of clams and sausage for dinner for my kiddos which they devour.

The key here is to buy what is fresh and what speaks to you. Just begin to layer. It’s just like getting dressed for a dinner party. Start with a great dress, add a fun pair of shoes and layer on the jewelry (In this case forgo the costume & stick with the good stuff).

Fish is delicious and super healthy. Ceviche as an appie?  Bring on the Ribeye! Fish for an entrée? well, hello triple cream! So, the thought of a giant platter of something just swimming from the sea – all bets are off. Imagine the desserts… You are doing your friends a favor.

East Hampton Fish Stew is a wonderful dish for your nearest and dearest, but equally endearing for new friends. Sharing a platter of food with several crusty loaves and a couple of bottles of wine makes for the best evening.

This dish as all about timing – so prepping ahead will make everything fall into place seamlessly. If all of this makes you nervous, make sure to clean and chop everything ahead of time and chill well in the fridge.

This is a dish made for entertaining.  Keep your friends close as you begin to assemble – this is dinner theater at its best – pass that bottle of wine while you shake the pot and ask your friends to place the bread on the table while you pour out the Sea’s Bounty onto a fabulous platter.

All that’s left is to call everyone to the table. Enjoy!

*Photo by John Jaxheimer*

2 dozen little necks
2 lbs mussels
1.5 lbs cod you can use any meaty white fish you like
1 lb bay scallops if you are making out of season use sea scallops
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 head fennel
1 medium yellow onion
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
3 cloves garlic crushed
1 orange peel
1 cup white wine I use a Sancerre or Sauvignon Blanc
olive oil
salt & pepper

Trim the bottom and the top of the fennel. Cut in half width wise and slice the whole fennel including the fronds. Cut onion in half and slice. Crush cloves of garlic. Roughly chop the parsley- excluding the Heat a large stock pot over medium heat. Add a couple of turns of olive oil- add fennel bulb (reserving the fronds) onion & garlic. Season with a pinch of salt and a turn of black pepper. Sauce for 5 mins – add the tomatoes and white wine and let reduce for another 5 mins.
While the veggies are cooking rinse the shellfish well. Check the scallops for any shell bits and rinse well. Cut the cod into 2 inch cubes and season with salt and pepper. If cleaning and prepping the seafood takes longer then cooking the veggies- simply turn off the heat.
Add the Parsley and Fennel Fronds to the pot. Place the pieces of Cod on top of the mixture add the scallops , clams and finally add the mussels on top. Cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes – you are looking for the shellfish to open. You want to agitate the pot while it is cooking – basically give it a couple of good shakes every minute or so.
To serve carefully pour into a large serving bowl remove any unopened shellfish & drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Serve with sliced crusty bread and a good bottle of wine. I set the table with soup bowls, since there is a wonderful broth and put out large empty bowls for the shells.

** Guest Post written by Mary Waserstein. Mary is a lifelong New Yorker and East Hamptonite. All Things Yum was born from Mary’s love of cooking and entertaining as well as interior design. The featured recipes vary from the mid-week quickie to the more involved recipes for the leisurely weekend. Mary’s recipes focus on homestyle meals that work equally well for the casual family dinner or a more upscale evening. Throw in a dash of design and you have All Things Yum! **