Shellfish Stew

Fish stock can be purchased at any specialty food store.

Serves: 4Hands-on: 20 minutesTotal: 40 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 4


  • 8 oz. fresh mussels
  • 8 oz. fresh clams
  • 8 oz. fresh scallops
  • 8 oz. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 1⁄2 fennel bulbs
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium leeks, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups fish stock
  • 4 very ripe plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, cored, and chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
  • 2 pinch of saffron threads
  • 1⁄2 tsp. salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


  • Wash the mussels and clams very well in a few changes of cold water. Scrub off any grit stuck to them and remove the beards from the mussels. (Your fish purveyor will clean them if you ask.) Place the mussels and clams in a medium-size saucepan and add enough cold water to cover by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil, covered, over medium-high heat. Steam the mussels and clams until they open. Discard any that remain closed. Remove the mussels and clams from the pan but reserve the flavorful cooking liquid.
  • To prepare the fennel, remove any discolored outer layers from the bulb. Trim the root end and trim off the feathery top. Cut the bulb in half lengthwise and then cut crosswise into very thin slices.
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the fennel, onions, and leeks. Cook slowly, uncovered and stirring often, for about 8 minutes or until tender. Stir in the garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes until soft. Add the fish stock, tomatoes, thyme, basil, and saffron. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Add the scallops and shrimp to the stew. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 8 minutes or until the scallops and shrimp are cooked. Add the mussels and clams with their cooking liquid to the stew. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  • Ladle the stew into warm soup bowls with equal amounts of fish in each.