September 13, 2014 at 11:08am
Ian McEwan is one of my favourite authors and I like him even better for making my job easier. This recipe is his, from his novel "Saturday". I won't tell you the plot, but a man has a very, very bad Saturday indeed. Not even this simple and delicious fish stew would comfort him at the end of it, but it will you for a good, an ordinary, or perhaps a chilly Saturday.
Ian McEwan's Fish Stew
Note: Where quantities are not stated, trust your instincts or desires.
Into a stockpot of boiling water (a litre or more), put the bones of three skates (or other boned fish) with heads intact. If you have no obliging local fishmonger, use a pound or more of white fish.
Add a dozen or so mussels to the stock. Simmer for twenty five minutes.
Meanwhile, strip and chop three onions and eight fat cloves of garlic.
Soften over a low heat in a casserole with a lot of olive oil.
When they've melted sufficiently, add:
- a couple of crushed red chillies
a pinch of saffron
some bay leaves
five anchovy fillets
two cans of peeled tomatoes
When these have blended together in the heat add a quarter bottle of white wine. Then strain off the stock and add to the casserole.
Simmer the mix for twenty minutes.
Rinse and/or scrub the clams and remaining mussels and place in a bowl.
Cut the monkfish tails into chunks and place in a separate bowl.
Wash the tiger prawns and add to the monkfish bowl.
Keep both bowls refrigerated until ready to cook.
Just before dinner, reheat the casserole.
Simmer the clams, monkfish, mussels and prawns in the casserole for ten minutes.
Eat the stew with brown bread, or garlic bread, salad and a hearty red wine.
You can substitute cod or another firm fleshed white fish for the monk fish. You can also make the tomato-stock mixture a day ahead and reheat to add the fish. Its flavours benefit from the wait. You needn't add every single seasoning. I omitted saffron which I don't like, but I love the orange peel flavour.