Main-Dish Seafood Stew

Preparation info

  • Makes


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Get in There and Cook: A Master Class for the Starter Chef

Get in There and Cook

By Richard Sax

Published 1997

  • About

This zesty seafood stew is lavish but actually easy to make. It’s a great dinner party centerpiece. As per Italian tradition, no Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese should be served with seafood sauces.


Stew Base

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium-large red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small red (bell) pepper, cored, seeded (Bell Pepper Basics), and chopped
  • 1 small green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 2 or 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Good-size pinch each of dried oregano and dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 strip orange peel, removed with a vegetable peeler
  • cup dry white wine
  • 1 can (16 ounces) whole tomatoes in puree
  • 1 bottle (8 ounces) clam juice or ¾ cup water


    1. To make the stew base: Heat the oil in a nonreactive large nonstick skillet or deep sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, red and green bell peppers, garlic, oregano, pepper flakes, bay leaf, orange peel, and 1 tablespoon water; toss with a wooden spoon to coat everything with oil. Cover and sweat or cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the vegetables begin to wilt, 3 or 4 minutes. Uncover and sauté, tossing, until the vegetables are softened, 3 minutes longer.
    2. Add the wine; cook, stirring occasionally, until nearly evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes (rinse out the can with a little water and add) and cook, breaking them up with a wooden spoon, for 8 minutes. Add the clam juice and simmer until the sauce thickens lightly, 6 to 8 minutes more. Remove the bay leaf and orange peel. (The recipe can be prepared in advance to this point. Refrigerate for a day or two. To continue with this recipe, return the tomato mixture to simmering.)
    3. Adding the seafood: Place the clams, if using, in the simmering tomato mixture and cover tightly. Simmer gently, adjusting the heat if necessary, until the shells are just beginning to open, about 3 minutes. Gently stir in the chunks of fish and the shrimp, plus the scallops, if you are using them. Cover tightly and simmer until the fish is just opaque and the clams have opened, 4 or 5 minutes longer. Discard any unopened clams. The timing may vary; do not overcook.
    4. Turn off the heat. Stir in the parsley and basil, lemon juice, pepper, and a little salt, if needed. Spoon the seafood mixture into 4 wide serving bowls, using tongs to arrange the pieces quickly and attractively. Garnish with basil leaves or parsley sprigs and serve immediately. Pass a pepper mill at the table.