Mediterranean Seafood Casserole  Meat  94 reads

Mediterranean Seafood Casserol

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 medium leeks (white and tender green) or 2 large onions, chopped
6 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 cans (28 ounces each) Italian peeled tomatoes, drained and coarsely cut up
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds, lightly crushed
Pinch of saffron threads
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 shallots, minced
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper
3/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley
4 pounds mussels, preferably cultivated, debearded
2 dozen cherrystone clams, scrubbed
3 pounds firm-textured white fish fillets, such as scrod, red snapper, halibut, cut into 3×2-inch pieces
12 jumbo shrimp or langostinos in their shells, rinsed
1 pound bay scallops or quartered sea scallops
2 tablespoons Pernod, optional

In a large nonreactive flameproof casserole, heat 1/3 cup of the oil. Add the leeks and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until they are very soft and just begin to color, about 10 minutes. Add two-thirds of the chopped garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, fennel seeds, saffron, and salt; simmer until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. (The tomato sauce can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated, covered. Reheat before Step 3.)

In a large nonreactive saucepan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over moderately low heat. Add the shallots and remaining garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the wine, hot pepper, and ¼ cup of the parsley and bring to a boil over high heat. Dump in the mussels and clams, cover tightly, and steam, stirring up the shellfish from the bottom once or twice, until they just open, about 3 minutes. Immediately remove the mussels and clams from the broth and set aside in their shells; discard any that do not open. Strain the broth through a double thickness of cheesecloth and add to the tomato sauce. (The recipe can be prepared to this point up to 1 day in advance. Cover and refrigerate the shellfish and sauce separately. Let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before you plan to cook the casserole.)

Shortly before you are ready to serve the first course, arrange the fish and shrimp in a large paella pan or flameproof casserole. Scatter the scallops around the pan. Quickly bring the tomato sauce to a boil. Stir in the Pernod and pour over the seafood. Cover, bring to a simmer, and cook without stirring for 5 minutes. Uncover and tuck the mussels and clams around the other seafood. Cover and simmer until the shellfish are hot and the shrimp are cooked through, about 5 minutes longer. Sprinkle the remaining parsley over the top. Serve in shallow soup plates.

makes 12 servings


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