Sicily, Italy’s island jewel, mixes Italian cuisine with influences from Greece, Spain and North Africa, and many of the island’s iconic dishes include lots of fresh seafood from the surrounding waters of the Mediterranean. There’s no better example than this seafood stew, which features a bounty of fish and shellfish and is served over couscous, a North African staple that soaks up the delicious broth.
Sicilian Seafood Stew with Couscous
- 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and diced
- 2 leeks, white and light green portions, thinly sliced and rinsed well
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tbs. tomato paste
- 2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) dry white wine
- 1 can (28 oz./875 g) diced tomatoes with juices
- 4 cups (32 fl. oz./1 l) fish stock
- 1 Tbs. saffron threads
- 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) Castelvetrano olives, pitted and chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 lb. (250 g) halibut, cut into 1 1/2-inch (4-cm) cubes
- 1/2 lb. (250 g) clams, scrubbed
- 1/2 lb. (250 g) mussels, scrubbed
- 1/2 lb. (250 g) large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- Cooked couscous for serving
- Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish
- Lemon wedges for garnish
1. In a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the celery, fennel and leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, tomato paste and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, stock, saffron and olives and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to deepen. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
2. Add the halibut, clams and mussels to the pot, discarding any shellfish that do not close to the touch. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add the shrimp, re-cover and continue cooking until the halibut and shrimp are cooked through and the clams and mussels open, about 5 minutes more. Discard any clams or mussels that did not open. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
3. Serve the stew over couscous and garnish with parsley and lemon wedges. Serves 6.
Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen