Author Notes: I love fish and seafood stews and I love pairing fish with fennel...the flavors are intoxicating. A loaf of crusty bread finishes this off. - inpatskitchen
Food52 Review: Heady yet subtle, this stew’s exotic scents will have you swimming instantly in warm crystal seas. The first bite takes you deeper, past flavors you can barely touch -- the floral essence of fennel, the nigh undetectable savory of anchovy, the glow of saffron, each more exhilarating than the last. Finally, you look back down. Your bowl is empty. Wait. Is there more? There has to be more. Oh god, please let there be more. - Nicholas Doyle
Serves 4 to 6
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 anchovy fillets, minced
- 2 small leeks, pale green and white parts only, sliced lengthwise and then crosswise into 1/4-inch half moons
- 2 medium fennel bulbs, cored and thinly sliced
- 5 cloves minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground fennel seed
- 1 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed a bit
- One 14 1/2-ounce can Roma tomatoes, chopped, with the juices reserved (or if you have beautiful fresh Romas in season, peel, seed and chop 5 or 6)
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (I used a Pinot Grigio)
- 4 cups clam juice
- 4 medium red-skinned potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1/2 cup small black olives ( I used nicoise, but small kalamatas work also)
- 1 1/2 pound skinless, boneless saltwater white fish such as cod, halibut, or pollock, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 cup chopped flat leaf parsely
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Gently heat the oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven, add the anchovies, and sauté until the anchovies break up and sort of disintegrate. Add the leeks and fennel slices and continue to sauté until the leeks are soft but not browned.
- Stir in the minced garlic, saffron, and ground fennel seed, and sauté for about 2 more minutes.
- Add the wine, tomatoes, clam juice, and potatoes. Bring the mixture up to the boil and then down to a simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.
- Add the olives and the fish and simmer for about 5 or 6 minutes or until the fish turns opaque.
- Stir in the chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper to your taste. Serve warm with your favorite crusty bread or baguette!