Preparation info

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By Peter Gilmore

Published 2014

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  • 2 snapper heads, split in half (ask your fishmonger to do this for you)
  • 100 ml ( fl oz) grapeseed oil
  • 2 kg (4 lb 8 oz) chicken wings, chopped
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) squid trimmings
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) sea scallop trimmings or small sea scallops
  • 4 small fennel bulbs, 3 diced and 1 chopped
  • 4 inner white celery stalks, diced
  • ½ brown onion, diced
  • 250 g (9 oz) unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 200 ml (7 fl oz) good-quality apple vinegar
  • 750 ml bottle dry unoaked chardonnay
  • 3 litres (105 fl oz) chicken stock
  • 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) clams (vongole), shells well scrubbed


Remove and discard the eyes and gills from the halved snapper heads, then wash thoroughly under running water to remove the excess blood. Pan-roast the snapper heads in a large saucepan with the grapeseed oil until lightly coloured. Add the chicken wings, squid and sea scallop trimmings and cook until the chicken wings and seafood are well coloured. Add the 3 diced fennel bulbs to the pan along with the celery, onion and butter. Continue to pan-roast the ingredients in the butter until everything is golden brown, stirring and scraping the base of the pan with a wooden spoon to make sure the ingredients are not sticking. Add the garlic and deglaze with the apple vinegar until almost all of the vinegar has evaporated. Stir and scrape well so that all of the brown bits on the bottom of the pan are dissolved. Add the wine and reduce until almost all of the wine has evaporated, then add the chicken stock and 2 litres (70 fl oz) of water and bring to simmering point.

Reduce the heat until the liquid is barely moving and cook over low heat for 2 hours. Do not remove the butter from the surface of the stock at this point, as the flavour of the butter will infuse with the stock. After 2 hours, add the clams to the stock, then add the chopped fennel.

Remove the pan from the heat and allow all the ingredients to infuse for 30 minutes. Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve and discard the solids. Now you can remove any oil or butter from the surface of the stock with a small ladle. Strain the stock through a sieve lined with muslin (cheesecloth) into a clean stockpot or very large saucepan and allow to cool.