Venetian Fish Stew

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Fish stews are served throughout Italy. Every region, even city, have their own variation on fish stew. Some use varying varieties of fish including cod, sea bass, monkfish, sea bream or scorpion fish, or even sea food such as prawns, mussels, clams, scallops, squid or cuttlefish.

This recipeis based on the classic fish stews of Venice, which taste very similar to the fish stews of France but also using flavours like tomato and fennel to lift the flavour of the stew.

Recipe

2tbsp olive oil
½ carrot, finely chopped
½ small onion, finely chopped
½ fennel bulb, finely chopped
2½ garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ tsp dried red chilli flakes
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 litres fish stock
salt and black pepper
250g clams, cleaned (remove any which do not close when tapped)
200g mixed white fish (such as monkfish, halibut, cod), membranes removed, cut into chunks
small glass of white wine
250g squid, prepperd and cut into rings
150g raw prawns, shelled
100g scallops, removed from shells, roe kept
2tbsp finely chopped flatleaf parsley

Heat a large frying pan over a high heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil.

Add the carrot, onion, fennel, two of the chopped garlic cloves, the chilli flakes and fennel seeds and fry gently for 2-3 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and cook over a low-medium heat for 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes have broken down and the vegetables are softened. Then add the fish stock and bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat, then either use a stick blender or pour into a blender and blend until smooth.

Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Heat a pan until hot over a medium heat, then add another tablespoon of olive oil. Add the clams, white fish, squid,scallops and white wine, cover with a lid and cook for 1-2 minutes, shaking the pan from time to time.

Remove the lid and discard any clams which have not opened.

Add the fish broth and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes until heated through.

In a bowl, mix the chopped parsley with the remaining chopped garlic. Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the stew and serve.

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