Updated: May 4
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This recipe for seafood stew is quite simple, and the balance of flavors is truly incredible. Rich thick tomato broth brings all the flavors together and allows each shellfish to stand up. Nice punch of garlic mellows down with the sweetness of cashews and scallops. Beautiful fresh taste of shrimp, mussels and clams plays a great roll in the broth, which itself is so tasty that you will want to dip into it with some crusty bread.
My family loves seafood, but there are some considerations regarding fish farming I try and take into serious consideration before purchasing and preparing it. I always search for the best quality seafood, which means shopping local and purchasing wild caught as much as possible.
This beautiful seafood that I used in the recipe I got from our local Sea Eagle Market, which is down of street from us. I have been a regular customer since 2013.
WE DON'T EAT ENOGH SEAFOOD
In 2022 Americans consumed 16.1 pounds of fish and shellfish per person. Per week, Americans eat about 3.5 ounces of seafood, which is still only half of what the USDA recommends. This is the highest since 2007.
Very often, people in the U.S. only eat seafood at a restaurant but it doesn't have to be this way. Preparing seafood at home is EASY and everyone can do it.
We have all heard the recommendations to eat more fish and other types of seafood. But why? It is because fish, especially oily fish like salmon, are a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA which may help protect our body from aging, against heart disease, inflammation, high blood pressure, brain health, diabetes, digestive disorders and even autoimmune disease.
HOW TO SERVE SEAFOOD STEW?
The rich broth must be dipped into using good quality bread like sourdough, a baguette, ciabatta, etc. Another option is to serve it over rice, pasta (homemade pasta, for more special occasions), polenta, couscous, quinoa, or really anything that you like.
For people on a low carb diet, I recommend cauliflower rice or cauliflower mashed potatoes.
Either you are using bread to dip or some grain to soak all juice/broth from the stew; it's up to you to choose because you are the boss of your plate. But please use something; otherwise, you are losing the whole point of eating this rustic seafood stew.
HOW TO REHEAT SEAFOOD STEW?
To serve right away fresh is best, but even the next day this stew is great. Gently reheating it on the stove will provide the same flavor if not better (due to the rich broth) and will prevent your shellfish from being rubbery or overly cooked. Therefore, do exercise caution and reheat on low heat while slowly stirring and as soon it looks like it is steaming, remove from the heat and it is ready to serve!
WHAT DO I NEED TO MAKE THIS STEW?
Fresh shellfish - It is your decision on what types of seafood to include in your stew. More variety means happier taste buds and palette! I used 4 kinds of shellfish: shrimp, mussels, clams and scallops. Adding fish to this list would be great, but it's up to you. Just make sure to not overcook whatever you choose.
Fresh herbs - Fresh is always best and definitely consider using at least some fresh herbs. It is best to put in hardy herbs such as thyme, sage, Italian oregano, and bay leaves in the beginning of the cooking process. The more delicate ones such as parsley, tarragon should be added toward the end. Of course, leave some to be used as a garnish.
Olive oil - good quality. Do not use a blend or light olive oil instead opt for one that has a strong olive flavor, Spanish olive oil is ideal.
Garlic - a nice dose of fresh garlic and also fried garlic too. The combination of both types creates a perfect harmony.
Cashew - or almonds without skin, whichever you have on hand.
Spices - smoked Spanish paprika, red pepper flakes, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. That's it. Very light on the spices, good fresh seafood should sing here, and you don't want to mask the seafood flavor.
Tomato - I used crushed canned tomatoes but you can use some grated fresh tomatoes if you like.
Shrimp stock - clam juice or fish stock, whichever you have on hand.
Long before modern medicine, the ancient civilizations leaned heavily on a variety of herbs for their healing properties. While there is very little scientific evidence that any single herb can directly prevent or cure serious diseases, research increasingly shows that many of the most common herbs do possess properties that may help lower the risk of developing certain maladies or lessen certain symptoms.
Adding herbs to your diet has another benefit: “Adding flavor with herbs can make it easier to eat more of the foods we need more of, including vegetables and whole grains, because they make everything taste and smell better,” says Dr. Bazilian. She also believes this added flavor makes it easier to cut back on less-desirable ingredients such as sugars, salt, and saturated fats.
In this particular dish I went heavy on herbs and did not regret this decision even in using sage, which I typically use for poultry and pork played wonderfully. It didn't overpower the dish.
WHAT DO I LIKE ABOUT THIS DISH?
Simplicity of the cooking!
Easy to shop because all ingredients available in any of your local supermarket!
Healthy comfort food!
Lighter than meat stew!
Tasty the next day too!
Quick to prepare!
Perfect for an everyday dinner or special occasion!
Let's make it...
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Author: Inna of innichkachef.com
Serves: 6 people
1 lb. shrimp
1/2 lb. scallops
1 lb. mussels
1 dozen clams
Fresh herbs (thyme, sage, oregano, tarragon, parsley)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
4 large cloves of garlic
2 cups tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes.
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup shrimp or clam broth
1 Lemon, cut into wedges.
Prep your seafood. Scrub the mussels and clams in cool water. Remove beards from mussels and discard all beards. Peel the shrimp and devein if needed. This step can be done even the day before but be sure to keep your seafood on ice in the refrigerator.
Take a large pan with a heavy bottom or Dutch oven and add oil. Put the heat on low to medium. Olive oil is not meant for frying, so gently heat it. Place the scallops into the pan (make sure they are completely dry), spacing them apart from each other. Sear for a few minutes on each side. Remove the scallops using a slotted spoon and place on a platter to rest.
To remined pan add to the oil spices, bay leave, garlic cloves (halves) and cashew. Then cook for a minute or two, stir around, make sure nothing get burn.
To the same pan add spices, bay leaves, garlic cloves (halves) and cashews to the oil. Then cook for a minute or two, continually stirring to make sure nothing gets burned.
Remove the garlic and the cashews and place into a mortar with a pestle and take the pan off the heat. Use the pestle and mortar to make a paste out of the garlic and cashews. Add a pinch of coarse salt (Celtic salt that's what I recommend) this way it's easier to do this step. But it's not necessary; I skipped this step in the video.
To the pan add the crushed tomatoes with the shrimp stock and on medium heat bring everything gently to a simmer. Now add the garlic-cashew paste. Next, add herbs such as thyme, sage, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper, cover and simmer for a few minutes.
At this point the smell and aroma in your kitchen should be amazing. Start adding your seafood, depending on the size of your shellfish. I started with clams and let them cook for 3 minutes or until they begin to open. Follow with the mussels, and lastly with the shrimp. Now add the parsley and tarragon. Reserve a little bit of parsley for the garnish.
As soon as the shrimp turns pink, remove the pan from the heat! Don't wait a second longer to cook. Sprinkle with reserved parsley. Now squeeze a lemon wedge onto each serving. This is a must do so don't skip it! The burst of lemon adds a delightful punch! You can also drizzle with olive oil, but this step is completely optional, I didn't do it in the video. The stew broth should look thick and beautiful.
Serve immediately with some crusty bread or really anything that you like. See the notes above on my suggestions.