Thursday, February 7, 2013

Fish Stew – Sexy Is As Sexy Does

You often hear people describe food as “sexy,” but I’ve always believed it’s really more the occasion and company that makes a meal sexy. Put your Valentine across a candlelit table, pour a couple glasses of wine, and no matter what you serve up, sexiness will ensue.

Having said that, it certainly doesn’t hurt to hedge your bets and serve up a naturally sensuous dish like this simple, but sophisticated fish stew. This is great for you less than confident cooks, since your timing doesn’t need to be that precise. Did I mention there’d be wine around?

You can actually do everything ahead, up until adding the fish if you want. Since the pieces will cook in between 5 and 10 minutes, when you’re ready to eat, simply bring the mixture to a boil, add the fish, and simmer until done. You can also hold the stew over very low heat for a good 15-20 minutes without major problems, in case, well, you know.

By the way, make sure you check and see if your dining partner likes fish and wine, as this would be a horrible choice if they don’t. If they do, you’re in business. Almost any type of fish or shellfish will work in this, as well as any small, cute potatoes. Just don’t forget to peel the middles, as it's kind of a big deal. I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions:
2 tbsp butter
1 large leek, chopped
1/2 cup sliced shallots
1/2 tsp salt, more to taste
3/4 cup white wine
1 1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup sliced fennel root
1 pound small red potatoes
cayenne to taste
1/2 cup cream
1 pound boneless fish filets
1 tbsp chopped tarragon

View the complete recipe

35 comments:

Daniel said...

What technique do you use to warm up your plates?

Chef John said...

I warm plates in a warm oven.

Sweet y Salado said...

Peeling the potatoes in the middle also makes this dish a little sexier. Kind of like a strapless dress or is that TMI?

cookinmom said...

Awh man, red snapper, lots of terragon and lemon, oh my!! Sold!!!

Unknown said...

Chef John, you've done it again! Thank you!

Matt D. said...

Have you ever tried using clam juice as a substitute for the fish stock that nobody has? Or would that make this soup too clam-y? I wish I could get decent fish stock, but I can't find anyplace that sells fish cutoffs and the store-bought carton of it I got once tasted like someone had tried to imitate the taste of fish using only a chemistry set.

Chef John said...

Yes, clam juice would work fine I think!

Danny said...

Beautiful! I've been eagerly awaiting this recipe!

Thom said...

Love it! I immediately want to try variations, like using coconut milk rather than cream.

The real reason for my comment is to encourage you to pursue Stand Up Comedy in addition to the Culinary Arts...I just love it when someone achieves serious results using humor along the way!

Chibby said...

Hey CJ,hate to be one of "those"But,do you think salmon would be ok in this?I have steelhead too,but I don't really think of it as a stew fish.Hard for me to judge because I don't like fish,but love my fish eating husband.

Chef John said...

It would work method wise, but taste being subjective, I can't predict if it will be enjoyed! :)

Matthew said...

Dear Chef John,
I love your work, please keep it up.

Though I have one question. Due to a certain allergy toward fish, do you think chicken would withstand the recipe as a replacement for the fish?

Unknown said...

This looks great chef! Can't wait to try it!

My grocery doesn't sell fennel root/stalk in an amount small enough to justify purchasing for this recipe. Could I just use fennel seeds? And if so how much would you recommend?

Chef John said...

never tried with seed, but not really the same thing, since you want the texture of the root. I'd prob just leave out.

Bill Best said...

Can't wait to try this recipe out! :)

For the white wine, does it matter if you use a dry wine or a sweeter wine like a riesling?

Chef John said...

depends on your tastes, but I'd use dry since leeks and fennel are kinda sweet

Ed Adams said...

Chef,

Making this tonight but very difficult to get red snapper here. I've tried since we moved to Italy and it's just not available. So, I'm going to try this with the standard cod and add some scallops.

Bitter Dan said...

Is it just me or did this video end... prematurely?

hunnybunnymunny said...

Can i use salmon instead of white meat fish? And is it recommended to do it the night before just so i could do taste test and keep it refrigerated for the night and reheat it the next day?

Ed Adams said...

Chef John,

The stew turned out wonderful with the addition of scallops. I cooked them most of the way before hand because I thought they might take longer to cook than the fish. We thoroughly enjoyed it. I will end up blending about half the potatoes next time I make this to thicken up the broth a little bit. Thanks again.

Chef John said...

Salmon works! You can make ahead, but better fresh!

ChristineDux said...

Following the snowstorm in New England, we just got our power back after 6 days of being without. So a lot of compromises were made in making this for Valentine's Day--and it was still totally wonderful, lick the bowl delicious.

And with Grand Marnier soufflés for dessert, I'm once again the resident domestic goddess.

lealeboa said...

This fish stew was so amazing my boyfriend actually tasted it and then ate it, it was gorgeous (still talking about the stew) ! I used hake and it was cooked in no time. Cheers !

S/V Blondie-Dog said...

Hey Chef!

I gotta tell ya 'dat my finicky lady-friend positively loved this dish!

In fact, she liked it so much that she later claimed that it made her toes curl on multiple occasions!

Thanks! You're 'da best!

TylerW007 said...

This dish went really well! a great way to start Valentines weekend.

I have to thank you chef John!

but I was wondering what this dish is officially called? other than a fish stew?

Jason Garcia said...

I made this soup yesterday for a late valentines dinners. I used half chicken stock, half clam juice. I also substituted fish sauce for some of the salt. I used orange roughy instead of cod, simply because I couldn't find any cod. My girlfriend looked at me after she took the first bite like I was the most wonderful man alive! Thanks for the recipe, I am sure this will be a staple in my culinary repertoire for years to come!!!

Jason Garcia said...

@hunnybunnymunny - I personally wouldn't use salmon for two main reasons. First off its a pretty light soup and salmon is a pretty fatty fish. Second off salmon has a strong flavor, which could either clash or overpower the soup.

Spyce said...

Delicious! Chef John, you're the real Valentine :-)

Mohammad Ahmed said...

John whats a good substitute for white wine since I cant handle or consume any kind of alcohol.

Andria said...

I am going to make this today!!Thank you Chef!

redforever said...

Just made this tonight and it was absolutely delicious. I used regular cod and cut it in 1-inch cubes...it cooked very quickly.

Thx for a great recipe.

Faith said...

Oh man. I also love the salmon and leek pasta, so it's no surprise I love this too, especially since I couldn't resist adding creme fraiche instead of heavy cream. I used a fresh "ocean perch" that was absolutely fantastic, and even had the same color skin. Dead easy, and super fast. I'll make this a hundred times.

TOOTSIE said...

Thanx Chief for the recipe I hope stop & shop sells all the ingredients. Q: wht else could I use rather than wine?

Cameron Suter said...

Im underage so I can't make this with the white wine. Is there a substitute I could use? Or can I just omit it?

Chef John said...

add some rice vinegar to taste!