This simple stew borrows from classic French Bouillabaisse, but has a Maryland twist in the form of Evermill’s warmly spiced Captain’s Blend. If you happen to have seafood stock on-hand (or can find it in a store), use it in place of the white wine and clam juice. And feel free to mix and match the type of seafood you use. Serve the finished stew with charred lemons and a big hunk of crusty bread for a rustic meal.
2 handfuls of the smallest potatoes you can find
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ large onion, minced
1 small bulb fennel, minced (about the same amount as the onion)
1 leek (white parts only), chopped
1 cup white wine
½ cup clam juice
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon Evermill Captain’s Blend
1 Evermill bay leaf
Salt and pepper, to taste
One ½ pound piece halibut or other flaky white fish
4 littleneck clams, scrubbed clean
4 mussels, scrubbed clean
4 shrimp, peeled and deveined
Fennel fronds, for garnish
Par-boil the potatoes in heavily salted water for 5-10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
In a large sauce pot, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions and fennel and cook until starting to soften. Add the leeks and potatoes and cook a few minutes more.
Add the wine and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, to cook out the alcohol. Add the clam juice, tomatoes, Captain’s Blend, and bay leaf. Stir to combine, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring it up to a boil, then simmer on low heat for 15 to 20 minutes to allow the soup to thicken.
Add the fish to the stew in the order of longest cooking to shortest, seasoning each piece with salt and pepper (save for shellfish like clams and mussels). Add the halibut first and cook for 5 minutes, then add the clams and mussels. When the clams and mussels have opened, add the scallops and shrimp and cook for another 5 minutes or so.
Remove the bay leaf. Divide up the seafood between two bowls, then pour the broth over the top. Garnish with chopped fennel fronds and serve warm.