Spring Shellfish Stew with Kale and Pancetta
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- 1/4 pound pancetta, cut into 1/4" cubes
- 1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 small (roughly 1/2 pound) bunch kale, rinsed and sliced into 1/4" thick ribbons
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 (8-ounce) bottle clam juice
- 3 cups chicken or fish stock
- 3/4 pound manila clams, scrubbed clean
- 3/4 pound mussels, cleaned and debearded
- 1 pound halibut, skinned and cut into 1" cubes
- 3/4 pound extra large shrimp (about 12), deveined (optional)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- Heat a large, deep soup pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta, cover, and cook until browned, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pancetta to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving the grease in the pot, and set aside.
- Add the onions and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and kale, season with salt and pepper, and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring and turning as the kale on the bottom cooks down.
- Increase heat to high, add the white wine, and simmer for 2 minutes. Use your hands to break up the tomatoes into small pieces, and add them, along with their juices, the clam juice, stock, and the reserved pancetta pieces. Simmer the stew, partially covered, for about 30 minutes, or until the kale is soft and the tomatoes begin to break down. (You can add a little water, if too much evaporates.) Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add the clams and mussels to the pot and cook, tightly covered, for 5 minutes. Add the fish and shrimp, if using, stirring them into the broth, and simmer, covered, another 5 minutes or so, until the fish is cooked and all the shellfish have opened. Serve piping hot in wide, shallow bowls, sprinkled with parsley. (Discard any shells that do not open.)
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