Almost every coastal town in Italy has its own version of seafood stew, typically made with whatever is left over at the fish market that day. We like to serve this version from Livorno, on the west coast of Tuscany, with the traditional accompaniments of bruschetta and a green salad.
Livorno Fish Stew
- 2 dozen small clams, such as Manila or littleneck, scrubbed
- 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 4 Tbs. (1/3 oz./10 g) minced fresh parsley
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1/2 lb. (250 g) cleaned baby octopus or calamari, cut into large pieces
- 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) full-bodied red wine
- 1 can (28 oz./875 g) diced tomatoes
- 1 1/2 lb. (750 g) white fish, such as rockfish or red snapper, cut into large pieces
- 8 shell-on jumbo shrimp, with heads attached
For the bruschetta:
- 12 slices crusty country bread, cut into slices 1/2 inch (12 mm) thick
- Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing
1. Put the clams in a large, dry fry pan over medium-high heat. Cover and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until all the clams have opened, about 5 minutes. Using tongs, transfer to a bowl and cover to keep warm. Strain the pan juices into a clean bowl through a fine-mesh sieve lined with a damp paper towel. Set aside.
2. In a soup pot over medium-low heat, combine the olive oil, onion, 2 Tbs. of the parsley and the red pepper flakes. Sauté until the onion is softened, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the octopus, vinegar and bay leaf and stir. Raise the heat to medium-high and simmer for 1 minute. Stir in the wine, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer until most of the wine has been absorbed, about 5 minutes. Stir in 3 cups (21 oz./655 g) of the tomatoes and return to a simmer. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until thickened, about 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, make the bruschetta: Position a broiler pan 4 inches (10 cm) below the heat source and preheat the broiler. Arrange the bread slices on a large baking sheet and brush the tops with olive oil. Slip under the broiler and broil until the edges are lightly browned and the tops are golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside.
4. Add the reserved clams and clam juice, the remaining 1 cup (7 oz./220 g) tomatoes, the fish and the shrimp to the pot and stir gently to mix. Cook just until the shrimp have turned pink and the fish is opaque throughout, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and sprinkle in the remaining 2 Tbs. parsley. Discard the bay leaf.
5. To serve, divide the bruschetta among shallow bowls. Ladle the stew over the bread and serve. Serves 6 to 8.
Find more recipes like this one in our enticing collection of authentic dishes made modern, Rustic Italian, by Domenica Marchetti.