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Amelia Saltsman is a local food writer and cook.

Spring Stew with Fish or Shrimp
Serves 6.

A lovely way to celebrate the beautiful colors and flavors of spring. Mix and match your favorites, using all or some of what-s listed below for a soup or stew base that cooks up in 15-20 minutes. Add the fish or shrimp to poach gently during the last five minutes or so before serving so that the seafood doesn-t overcook.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 bunch spring onions, chopped, including tops
  • 1/2 bunch green garlic, chopped, including tops
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 bunch fennel bulbs, scrubbed and sliced or quartered vertically
  • Several sprigs of thyme
  • 1-2 pounds of potatoes, such as French fingerlings, LaRatte, Yukon gold, (leave whole if they-re tiny, cut in cubes if they-re large)
  • 1 bunch pea shoots, roughly chopped
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes (Muir Glen-s a good brand)
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Generous pinch of saffron (optional)
  • Good-sized handful of sugar snap peas, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 pounds thick fish fillets, skinned, such as white sea bass or salmon, cut into 2-inch chunks and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • or 2 pounds raw, cleaned shrimp
In a large pot over medium heat, saut- the onions, garlic, carrots and fennel until soft, 3-5 minutes. Add potatoes, thyme, pea shoots and salt and pepper, cook 3 minutes longer. Add tomatoes and their juices, one cup of water, salt and pepper to taste, and saffron to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer partially covered until vegetables are tender, 10-15 minutes. Add snap peas, and fish or shrimp to the gently simmering stew. Spoon some of the liquid over the fish, cover pot and poach the fish until opaque or the shrimp until they turn pink, about 5 minutes. The snap peas will be a lovely bright green and still have a little crunch.
- 2003, Amelia Saltsman


John Pierre Moull-, a former chef at Chez Panisse, guides culinary tours of France with his wife. To find more information about his cooking tours and wine tasting tours, go to www.twobordelais.com, email jdmoulle@pacbell.net or call (510) 848-8741.


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