Thursday, May 27, 2010

Light & Flavorful Shellfish Stew

Here's a recipe for shellfish stew that is made up of 4 different types of shellfish: shrimp, scallops, littleneck clams and lobster. It is a very tasty dish made with just the flavorful natural juices from the raw ingredients, white wine and chicken stock. As clams and lobster are not suitable for long cooking methods like stewing (they become rubbery when overcooked), we'll have to cook them separately. Before we start, let's first gather the following ingredients (mise en place):

8 large shrimps
1 1.25 lb. lobster (live 'n kicking)
6-8 live littleneck clams
8 large fresh dry scallops (not frozen)
8 live mussels (not shown here)
1 cup white wine
2 cups water
1 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon butter
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 large shallot (chopped small)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 stalks scallions (green portions only) cut into 1/2" segments
Salt & pepper to taste

In a pot, combine the white wine and water and start start heating it up on medium. Steam the lobster until the entire shell turns red. Do the same for the littleneck clams and mussels. They are done when they open up. Remove the lobster, clams and mussels when they are all done and set aside to cool down. Save the steaming liquid that now contains the natural juices from the lobster and bivalves.

In a large pan, melt the butter and pan-fry the scallops and shrimp. Before cooking, season the scallops with some salt and pepper. Brown the scallops on both side and cook the shrimp until the entire shell turns red. Remove the scallops and shrimp and start cooking the shallots and garlic in the leftover butter until fragrant. At this point, you will notice some browning at the bottom of the pan. Those are the flavorful bits and pieces of scallops and shrimp that were left behind. Next, strain the steaming liquid from earlier onto your pan, deglazing it (scrape the browning with a wooden ladle). Now you can add the scallops and shrimp back into the pan, together with the chicken stock, scallions and lemon juice. Bring to a gentle simmer and season with salt and pepper. Just before serving, add the lobster meat, littleneck clams and mussels into the stew to warm them up. Serve immediately.

What you have here is a light but flavorful stew made from all the sweet natural juices from the various shellfish. Believe me, it's an extravaganza of flavors!

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