Friday, April 12, 2013

Strega-Spiked, Licorice-y Seafood Stew

For National Licorice Day, I decided to make a licorice-y seafood stew with the licorice cousins: fresh fennel, fennel seeds, anise seeds. Whether you call it cioppinociupincacciucco, or buridda, I think this is a quintessential Italian seafood stew. It's made with whatever seafood is readily available; the flavor combinations are all very Italian. And just as every, and I do mean every, Italian dish is made differently by each Italian cook, here's my version...

  • 1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 C fresh tomato sauce
  • 6-7 C vegetable stock (or fish stock)
  • 1 C dry white wine
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 t anise seeds
  • 1 t fennel seeds
  • pinch of saffron
  • scallops
  • cod, cut into chunks
  • clams
  • splash of Liquore Strega, saffron liqueur (or use any licorice-flavored liqueur)
  • fresh oregano (I had a fragrant bunch from my WE Cooperative CSA!)
  • freshly ground sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • fennel pollen

Brown onions and fennel in a large stockpot with a butter and a splash of olive oil. Add anise seeds, fennel seeds, and a pinch of saffron. Cook till everything begins to soften. Add tomato sauce, vegetable stock, wine, and bay leaves. Stir and bring to a boil for 1-2 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 20 minutes.

Add and cook your seafoods. Once everything has cooked, stir in fresh rough-chopped oregano. Pour in a splash of Liquore Strega. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with a pinch of fennel pollen on each bowl.

Serve with a crusty bread. Pronto al tavolo!

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