This Spanish inspired dish is chock full of savory-ness! Just a whiff sends me back to warm spring days sitting outside in a waterfront cafe sipping the local rosé, wishing everyday could be as blissful. Makes a great lunch offering in half portion, with a salad and some fresh baked bread. It is certainly a wonderful main course, but I have also had much success serving this in clear glass coffee cups, as an “amuse-bouche” or first course, as guests arrive.
Wine Pairing: Lots of directions you could go here – white, rosé, even a red…a fruity crisp Spanish wine like Egeo 750ml ($12.99) would work nicely with its hints of anise white pepper. A rich rosé like By.OTT 750ml ($24.99) or a cru Beaujolais, with a light chill, such as Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages, 750ml ($12.99) or even an old vine Greanache like Evodia, 750ml ($12.99).
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves crushed, more for the bread
- 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced (2 cups)
- 1 medium fennel bulb, stalks and fronds removed, quartered lengthwise, cored, and thinly sliced crosswise (4 cups)
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and thinly sliced crosswise (3/4 cup)
- 1 small red bell pepper, stem, ribs, and seeds removed and discarded; flesh thinly sliced lengthwise (1 1/2 cups)
- 3 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 medium cloves garlic (1 minced, 1 whole)
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- One 15.5 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
- 1/8 tsp pimentón (smoked paprika)
- 2 pinches of saffron
- 1 bay leaf
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 baguette slices, 3/4 inch thick
- 11 oz skinless halibut fillets or other firm white fish, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 13 mussels, scrubbed and debearded
- Over medium, heat the oil in a 5-quart saucepan. Add the onion, fennel, carrot and bell pepper, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender but not browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste and minced garlic, stirring constantly, until the garlic is fragrant, about 45 seconds.
- Add the wine, bring to a simmer, and cook until the liquid has reduced by half, about 2 minutes.
- Add 3 1/2 cups of water, the chickpeas, thyme, pimentón saffron and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the vegetables are tender and the stew has thickened slightly, about 25 minutes.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Position an oven rack 6 inches from the heating element and heat the broiler on high.
- Put the bread slices on a rimmed baking sheet and brush both sides with oil. Broil, flipping once, until both sides are golden-brown, about 4 minutes total.
- Remove from the oven and rub each slice with a whole clove of garlic.
- Gently stir the halibut and mussels into the stew, cover, and simmer until all of the mussels have opened and fish is cooked through, 4 to 8 minutes. Discard any mussels that do not open.
- Ladle into wide, shallow bowls and serve with the garlic toast.
This recipe is courtesy of Fine Cooking Magazine, with tweaks from our CSWS staffer Richard and his dog, Bella.