I dearly love to make this simplified seafood stew any time of the week, but it’s especially nice on a busy weeknight. The broth isn’t as amazingly complex as stews that take a lot more work to prepare, but the flavors are still very pleasing. I made this in the summer when tomatoes were delicious, not merely edible. Now that Summer is long gone, please used canned tomatoes like San Marzano.
slightly adapted from: Dining In
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 large or 2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (keep one sliced clove separate, for use later)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 chiles de arbol, crumbled, or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 sprigs fresh thyme and/or 2 fresh bay leaves (I used both)
1/3 cup dry white wine (this is always a great time to use leftover dry champagne if you have it)
1 pound medium tomatoes, quartered, or 1 (14.5-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained
1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
3/4 pound skinless flounder, tilapia, halibut, cod, or rockfish fillets, cut into 4-inch pieces
1 pound mussels, scrubbed and rinsed
1/3 cup coarsely chopped oil-cured black or green olives (I love Castelvetrano)
1 cup fresh parsley, dill, cilantro, or tarragon, tender leaves and stems, coarsely chopped
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and 3 garlic cloves, and season with salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are browned and the garlic is toasted, about 4 minutes.
Add the chiles, thyme, bay leaves (if using), and wine, and let simmer until reduced by about half, about 4 minutes.
Crush the tomatoes with your hands and add them to the pot along with any juices. Add 4 cups water and season with salt and black pepper.
Simmer everything together, seasoning it along the way, until the broth has thickened slightly and all the flavors have come together, 15 to 20 minutes.
Season the shrimp and fish with salt and black pepper. Add the mussles, shrimp and fish to the pot and cover. Cook until the mussels are open, the shrimp are bright pink, and the fish is opaque white, and everything is cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Discard any unopened mussels. Add the olives and remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, finely chop the remaining garlic clove, add it to the chopped herbs, and season with salt and black pepper.
Serve the stew with a drizzle of olive oil and the herbs sprinkled over, alongside garlicky bread, a good salad, and lots of wine!
The base for the stew can be made up to 5 days ahead and refrigerated. When ready to add the seafood, bring to a simmer and proceed.