Fish and seafood is a New Year’s tradition.
With a fish stew, your main ingredient doesn’t have to be fresh out of the water.
In this recipe, homemade aioli adds a richness to your winter meal. You can make the aioli a day ahead. To make, crack 1 egg into the food processor fitted with the plastic blade. Pull out any green shoots from 2 cloves garlic; mash with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add to the egg, along with 2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice. Swirl pale, about 15 seconds. With the machine running, slowly — at first drop by drop, then in a thin stream — drizzle in 1/2 cup canola oil and 1/4 cup olive oil. Scrape into a glass jar and chill.
Prep: 30 minutes; cook: 30 minutes; makes: 2 servings
1 pound rock fish fillet (or other firm white fish), skin and bones removed, sliced into 2-inch chunks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 fat pinch saffron threads
1 cup fish or chicken broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 leek, white and pale green portion sliced into matchsticks
1 fennel bulb, halved, thinly sliced (chop and reserve 2 tablespoons fronds)
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 cup canned tomatoes
1 cup dry white wine
Aioli, see story for ingredients and recipe
4 thick slices French bread, toasted
Season: Toss fish chunks with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Chill.
Steep: Crumble saffron into the broth and set aside.
Simmer: In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium. Tumble in leeks and fennel. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and the cayenne. Cook until soft and fragrant, about 12 minutes. Stir in tomatoes. Cook until mixture thickens, about 8 minutes. Stir in broth and wine. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer 5 minutes.
Poach: Add fish. Cook until just done, about 5 minutes. Pull pan off heat. Stir in 1-2 tablespoons aioli.
Serve: Scoop stew into 2 bowls. Sprinkle with fennel fronds. Serve with toasted bread and more aioli.