Finally! I’m settled after moving from San Francisco to Orlando last summer.
The first four months I stayed downtown in a furnished, high-rise apartment. Then two months at my Son’s house where I recovered from a minor surgery and searched for a permanent place to live.
In November I purchased a small, mid-century bungalow in the Audubon Park Garden District just north of downtown. Two days before Christmas my new home was sufficiently sorted so that I could comfortably move in.
It’s February. I have unpacked and straightened enough that I can catch up the One Old Stove blog. Fittingly this article documents the first meal I cooked in my new kitchen. It was a late night meal shared with a friend who had just arrived from San Francisco to visit on Christmas Eve.
Traditionally I serve a seafood stew with light Bouillabaisse style broth the night before Christmas. In San Francisco it was made with local Dungeness crab. Now in Florida, this version includes Stone Crab claws, Cedar Key clams, Florida Grouper and Key West pink shrimp.
A tomato and saffron broth is essential to a Bouillabaisse. I don’t follow recipes when I make broth, but this time I did take notes. A good thing in this case since I am writing this nearly two months after it was served.
Fish stock will enhance this dish but is not absolutely necessary as the seafood cooked in broth imparts flavor. Spend a little time gently adjusting the seasoning of the broth after it has been strained. In addition to salt and pepper, add a squeeze of fresh lemon to brighten the flavor.
- 1 small Leek white parts sliced into 1/8” coins
- Stalks from 1 small fennel bulb (bulb reserved for another use)
- 2 carrots with greens cut into 2” lengths
- 1 small yellow onion quartered
- 1 handful Italian flat leaf parsley
- 2 tomatoes cut into quarters
- Water to cover (4 to 6 quarts). Optionally, a fresh or prepared seafood stock may be substituted for up to 1/2 of the liquid.
- 1 heaping tablespoon of tomato paste
- 1 Star Anise
- Salt and pepper
- Generous pinch of saffron
- Juice of 1/2 Lemon
- 2 tablespoons of Pernod (A French anise flavored liqueur)
- Tabasco or another hot sauce (optional)
- 1 dozen littleneck clams (Cedar Key clams are used here)
- 4 to 6 Stone Crab claws (depending on size and number of servings)
- 1 pound of Grouper (any firm, white fleshed fish may be substituted)
- Approximately 8 large shrimp (Key West Pink Shrimp are used here)
- Add leek, fennel, carrots, onion, parsley, tomatoes, star anise, tomato paste, a generous pinch of salt and about 6 grinds of black pepper to a large stockpot. Cover with water (or optional fish stock) and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and let cook for about 2 hours. Add additional water or stock as needed.
- Strain the broth and place on a low heat.
- Steep saffron in 1/2 cup of hot water for 10 minutes before adding to the broth.
- Add Pernod and adjust seasoning. Add one-half of the lemon juice, taste adding more if needed. Add a few dashes of Tabasco to taste, if desired.
- Bring the broth to a slow boil. Add clams and when these begin to open add the Grouper. About two minutes after adding the Grouper add the Stone Crab and the shrimp. Cook two minutes more and then serve with crusty garlic bread.