Grilled Salmon with North African Flavors

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How to Make Shrimp & Fish Stew

This tomato-based fish stew inspired by Italian-American cioppino is easy to pull together. Once you get the hang of making it, you can come up with your own version of fish stew to suit your taste. Here’s how you make an easy fish stew:

The Seafood

We call for a combination of cod and shrimp in this recipe. Cod is a white fish with a mild flavor that won’t overpower the other flavors of the dish. Sea bass is similar and a good alternative. If you want to experiment with a meatier fish, mahi-mahi or halibut will work well too. Whatever fish you choose, be sure to remove the skin (or have it removed at the fish counter) and cut the pieces into similar sizes so they cook evenly. To add texture, we also use shrimp. To save time, we recommend buying shrimp that have already been peeled and deveined. We cut the shrimp in half lengthwise so they cook quickly and are easier to eat with a spoon. Other seafood to consider adding to fish stew are scallops (large ones halved), calamari, mussels and clams.

The Vegetables

Fish stew should really highlight seafood, but a few vegetables with a mild flavor profile can round out the flavors of the broth and add texture to the soup as a whole. Chopped onion is always a good bet, followed by celery to complement the flavors. If you want to experiment, other vegetables that work well in fish stew are leeks, fennel, potatoes and sweet peppers.

The Broth

We call for reduced-sodium chicken broth as the base of our soup. Chicken broth has a mild yet savory flavor that works surprisingly well in fish stew. Seafood stock, as well as clam juice, are good alternatives flavor-wise, but keep in mind they tend to be much higher in sodium. A splash of white wine adds depth and a little tanginess. Opt for a dry white wine like pinot grigio to prevent the soup from becoming too sweet, or skip the wine altogether and add extra broth in its place. Diced tomatoes give the broth a bright flavor, while tomato sauce adds body. We suggest using no-salt-added canned tomato products to keep sodium in check (You can always add salt later.) Tomatoes are an essential part of cioppino, but not all fish stews have them. You can skip the tomatoes completely and enjoy a clear brothy stew or add a splash of heavy cream to give the stew a creamy finish.

Additional reporting by Hilary Meyer

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