Author Notes: I developed this for a dinner party. The menu: lupini beans (see my Foodpickle question and thread), cheese spread and baguette slices, pear wrapped in salami and drizzled with pear cinnamon vinegar to nibble with drinks; a salad of roasted beets marinated in lemon vinegar and olive oil, with pink grapefruit, Belgium endive, toasted walnuts and blue cheese; seafood a la Vodka; Huguenot Torte. —Nora
- 1 28 ounce can of good quality sauce tomatoes
- trimmings from a head of fennel
- 2 whole, peeled cloves of garlic
- 1 tablespoon honey
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon white balsamic or other white vinegar
- 1/2 cup Vodka
- 1/2 cup cream
- Ham fat or bacon fat (optional)
- Olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced fennel
- 4 cloves of roasted garlic
- 1/2 cup diced, peeled turnip, which has been simmered until tender in cream or half and half
- Optional, slivers of country ham, crumbled bacon, or sausage
- Add the fennel trimmings and garlic to the tomatoes in a generously sized pot and simmer until the tomatoes begin to break down into a sauce. Add the honey and vinegar, salt and pepper, and simmer another 10-15 minutes.
- Take the tomato sauce off the heat, cover and let it sit until you are ready to proceed.
- Strain the sauce through a fine sieve and press to get the liquid out. Pour up to a cup of water or stock over the residue in the sieve and press again. You should have a smooth sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- In the pot you made the sauce in, saute the fennel in the ham or bacon fat and/or olive oil, until tender. Stir in the roasted garlic. Pour the tomato sauce back into the pot.
- Add the Vodka. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the cooked turnip and any of the meats you might be using. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit until ready to proceed.
- Just before serving, add the cream to the sauce. Warm it to serving temperature, but do not let it boil.
- I used peeled deveined shrimp and shucked oysters.
- You could use scallops or fish cut into chunks.
- I sauteed the shrimp in butter and poached the oysters in a little of their own liquid and a splash of white wine. I cooked them separately to be sure they did not overcook in the hot sauce.
- Cook the seafood you choose so that it is ready to add to the sauce when it is time to serve.
- For appearance, I stirred the oysters into the sauce, served the stew into bowls and topped it with the shrimp. I sprinkled with parsley and served it with crusty bread. You could serve over pasta, a crouton, rice, etc.
- I started my sauce the night before the dinner and it was delicious. However, Vodka sauce and also be quick and easy. The seafood makes it special, and it makes the seafood special.