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Carolina Fish Muddle

– from Christiana Campbell's Tavern
Colonial Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Virginia

Serves 6

Muddle Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 leek, trimmed. rinsed and thinly sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed and thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup fish stock or bottled clam juice
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 18 fresh mussels, scrubbed with beard scraped off
  • 18 littleneck or cherrystone clams, scrubbed
  • 18 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 18 sea scallops
  • 1 pound monkfish, trimmed and cut into slices 3/4-inch thick

Muddle Instructions:

  1. For the muddle, heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the leek, celery, green and red bell pepper, and saute over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the vegetables are lightly browned, Add the white wine to the pan, and stir to dislodge any vegetables, Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, stock, tarragon, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Lower the heat, and simmer the stew, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
  2. While the stew is simmering, place the clams and mussels in another saucepan. Discard any that do not firmly close when tapped. Place the pan covered over high heat, and steam the mollusks for 3 minutes, shaking the pan a few times but not uncovering it. Remove the pan from the heat, and discard any clams or mussels that did not open. Remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon, and set aside covered. Strain the liquid through a sieve lined with a paper coffee Filter or cheesecloth. Add the liquid to the stew.

Garnish Ingredients:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads (crushed into 1 tablespoon hot water)
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 6 slices toasted Sally Lund or French bread

Garnish Instructions:

  1. To make the garnish, combine the egg yolks, garlic and saffron with its liquid in a blender or food processor fitted with the steel blade. Puree, and then slowly add the olive and vegetable oils in a very slow stream through the feed tube, scraping the sides as necessary. The sauce should have the consistency of a mayonnaise.
  2. To serve, place the shrimp, scallops and monkfish into the simmering fish stew. Stir gently. When the stew returns to a boil, cover the pan, turn off the heat, and let the pot sit undisturbed for 5 minutes. Ladle the soup into bowls, and arrange the clams and mussels on the top. Spread the saffron sauce on the toast, and place one on top of each serving.

Note: The fish stock base and sauce can be prepared up to 1 day in advance and refrigerated, tightly covered. The toasts can he made in advance and kept loosely covered at room temperature. Reheat the stew to boiling, and cook the seafood just prior to serving.