The Frugal Foodie: Block Party Bouillabaisse

| April/May 2010

  • Photography by Howard Lee Puckett; Styling by Virginia Cravens-Houston and Judy Feagin

Serves 8

In the classic Stone Soup tale, a group of hungry travelers arrives in town with nothing but a large pot and a small stone. They put the stone in a pot of water over a fire in the middle of the square and crow to all who pass by about the delicious Stone Soup that only needs “a little something.” The townsfolk are all willing to spare a bit of what they have—a potato, an onion, some spices—until the pot is brimming with a hearty soup that can feed the entire village. Your Stone Soup party doesn’t have to be sneaky; ask each guest to bring a cup of seafood to add to the pot.

• ½ cup white wine
• Pinch saffron threads
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
• 1 large onion, peeled and sliced
• 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
• 1 strip orange zest
• 2 large tomatoes, chopped
• 6 cups clam juice
• 6 cups seafood, including some or all of the following: halibut, cod, tilapia, snapper, large uncooked shrimp (peeled and deveined, leaving tails intact), lump crabmeat, clams and mussels
• 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
• Lemon wedges (optional)
• Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Heat wine in a small saucepan or in the microwave until very warm. Add saffron threads and set aside.

2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, and fennel and sauté until tender and lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Add wine and saffron, orange zest, tomatoes and clam juice. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Reduce heat to medium and add fish and clams. Simmer for 3 minutes. Add shrimp and/or mussels and cook for 4 to 5 minutes longer, until shells have opened. Add crabmeat and stir into the stew. Cook 2 to 3 minutes to heat through. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with a lemon wedge, if desired.

Lara Starr and Lynette Shirk’s book, The Frugal Foodie Cookbook: Waste-Not Recipes for the Wise Cook (Viva Editions), was released in September 2009. 

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