Monday, June 27, 2011

Fish Stew

Here I am back with the fish again. On Saturday evening, we had a group from my husband's church to dinner. Usually, the way these things are supposed to work is, one person brings the hors d'oeuvres, one person brings a starch, one person brings a vegetable, a fourth person brings the salad, and a fifth the desert. The host generally provides the main course. Well, the group was somewhat smaller than usual. We provided hors d'oeuvres, main course and desert. Hors d'oeuvres were just "dip" spread on french bread.
It was a very congenial group. People have had all kinds of experiences. One gentleman spent a good part of the 1950s in Berlin courtesy of the U.S. State Department. Since they are all church people, there was a lot of conversation about the bishop of Alabama, or possibly Mississippi, who incidentally was a woman. I bet those Southerners hated that.
Since we have been employing a cleaning company for about the last month, the house was actually clean. Far from spending the whole day cooking and cleaning, we rode the red city bikes down to Dupont Circle and went to an exhibition at the Phillips Gallery. We wanted to ride them back home, but alas there were none. We got one from the rack on Massachusetts Avenue and walked off in search of another, not to find one. We ended up sticking our one bike on a rack on Florida Avenue and taking the bus home.
The stew was very good. Garlic lovers note it has three, count 'em, three cloves of garlic in it, a major breakthrough for the 1960s. I actually used the three ripe tomatoes, as instructed, instead of opening a can of tomatoes. Worked well. We ate the rest of it for dinner on Monday night. As for the clams, I cooked them separately, in a small pan with a tablespoonful of water in it. Note to the wise. If you want to cook clams this way, watch them. When I came back into the kitchen, the bottom of the pan was black. The clams, which were still in their shells, seemed okay, but probably drier than they should have been.

Fish Stew

3 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 shallots, finely minced
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
3 ripe tomatoes, peeled, cored and coarsley chopped ( I didn't bother with the peeling.)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 large or two small cleaned squid
1 1/2 pounds cod fillets
1 1/2 pounds striped bass fillets
12 littleneck clams, scrubbed and rinsed under cold water

1. In a Dutch oven, cook the garlic and shallots in the oil briefly without browning. Add the thyme, parsley, bay leaf and wine and bring to a boil. Simmer, partially covered, about ten minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper and simmer ten minutes longer, stirring occasionally.
Lay the squid lengthwise on the sauce, then add the cod and bass fillets. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer ten minutes. Add the clams and cover. Simmer just until the clams open and give up their juices. Serve piping hot. Six servings.

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