New Year with Saffron Fish Stew
Happy New Year! It’s the fourth day of 2011, and I have to admit – I’ve been a slacker. No greetings, no new posts, no photos from my Swedish vacay. Tsk Tsk! I just cannot bring myself to get going…it’s going to be a very slow start, plus it’s my birthday week, so all I really really want to do is a big, fat n-o-t-h-i-n-g. Yup, if only I can lie in bed, watch chick flicks, read books, read blogs, play computer games all day long…like i said, ‘if only’. But nope, I’m back at work today, and it sucks. Like totally.
So grumpiness aside, new year new beginnings. Droolfactor has come quite a long way in 2010. There’s so much more to learn, to try and experience, to develop and grow. I am looking forward to a new year of cooking, photos, experiments and participation in the blogging community. There are loads of recipes I am yearning to try out. Many more failed ones that I want to try to make a success of.
2011 will be busy. And I like it already.
To start the year off I’d like to share this Saffron Fish Stew recipe. I bought some precious saffron from that wonderful and colourful spice store while in Greece last year and this is the first dish I made with it.
Saffron is known to be the world’s most expensive spice (by weight). It is from the dried stigma of a saffron crocus flower and is normally used as a spice to inject fragrance and colour to a dish. On its own, the beautiful rich and red stigmas look gentle and fragile but when soaked in water, it produces the most robust golden hue.
This recipe is one of the most fuss-free fish stew recipes I’ve come across. Along with the saffron, the other ingredients are standard, shop-bought stuff like onions, fennel, fennel seeds, chilli, tomatoes etc. If you can get your lucky hands on a bunch of fresh seafood, then all the better. I only used what I could get from the supermarket.
This is a great dish to cook in under 30 minutes. It’s fresh and full of goodness. A comforting dish for a cold day. Eat it steaming hot with fresh bread or rice. Enjoy it! Happy days…
SAFFRON FISH STEW
Adapted from The Independent
*A generous glug of olive oil
*1 red onion, thickly sliced
*1 small fennel bulb, cut into chunky slices
* 2 small leeks, cut into chunky rings
*3 garlic cloves
*1 bay leaf
*1 red chilli, thickly sliced
*1 teaspoon fennel seeds
*250ml white wine
*600ml hot fish stock
*500g ripe tomatoes, chopped
*1 large pinch of saffron strands, pounded in a little warm water
*200g any firm, white-fleshed fish, cut into bite-sized chunks (I used cod)
*300g mixed seafood such as prawns, mussels, squid
*1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley
*Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large pan and then fry the onion and fennel until softened and just beginning to catch on the bottom of the pan. Add the whole, peeled garlic cloves and bay leaf and then the chilli and fennel seeds. Cook for another three minutes, then splash in the wine to deglaze the pan. Scrape off all the bits caught at the bottom of the pan and cook until the wine is reduced by half. Pour in the hot stock and add the tomatoes and saffron. Cover and cook on a low heat for about 10 minutes.
Once the stew has thickened a little, add the fish and cook for five minutes. Then add the rest of the seafood, cover the pan and cook for three to four minutes. Scatter parsley over the stew and serve with fresh bread.