Friday, March 30, 2012

Italian Fisherman's Stew

I've been trying to follow the Mediterranean Diet more often, especially when cooking at home.  It is supposed to be a very heart healthy diet.  For those of you who don't know what this Mediterranean food pyramid looks like, here is a quick snapshot.  You just have to love a diet that includes wine! 

So, I found a recipe for this stew that I'd clipped out of the newspaper long ago and never made.  I adapted it, and the results were delicious.  Besides that, this recipe follows this food pyramid almost perfectly, right down to the red wine.  Enjoy it with those you love and do your heart good!

Italian Fisherman's Stew

2 slices of peasant bread, cubed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons  balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
½ onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
½  red sweet pepper, diced
1  fourteen ounce can diced tomatoes
Zest and juice of one orange
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 cup red wine
1 bottle clam juice or 1 cup chicken broth
½ teaspoon dried thyme
Salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper
¼ - ½ pound scallops (depending on your budget)
¼ - ½ pound peeled shrimp
2 T. fresh, chopped basil

To prepare the croutons, spread bread cubes on a baking sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees until toasted, about 10 minutes.  In a bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Set aside.

To prepare the soup, heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.  Add onions, carrots, celery, red sweet pepper and garlic.  Saut√© 10 minutes.  Add canned tomatoes, orange zest and juice, sugar, red pepper flakes, wine, clam juice and thyme.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.  Uncover, add scallops and shrimp and cook 3 to 5 minutes until shrimp are nice and pink. 

Just before serving, pour oil mixture over croutons and toss well.  Ladle up the stew and garnish with basil and croutons.  Wait for the applause.
I think that most any seafood would be good in this stew.  I'm going to try a meaty fish like cod and also throw in a few clams or mussels.

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