3 cups thinly sliced fennel bulb (about 1 large bulb)
1 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads (optional)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 pound small red potatoes, quartered
2 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can tomato purée
1 pound skinned halibut fillets, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 pound bay scallops
1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Minced fresh parsley (optional)
6 (1/2-inch-thick) slices French bread, toasted
How to Make It
Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl; stir well. Cover and chill.
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sliced fennel, onion, thyme, and 2 garlic cloves, and sauté until tender.
Add water and the next 6 ingredients (water through tomato purée) to fennel mixture, and bring to a boil. Cook for 15 minutes or until potatoes are crisp-tender. Add the halibut, scallops, and shrimp; cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes or until seafood is done.
Ladle soup into individual bowls, and garnish with parsley, if desired. Serve with toast topped with tomato-mayonnaise mixture.