1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined (reserve shells)
1 cup chopped celery, divided
1 cup chopped carrot, divided
1 cup chopped onion, divided
2 1/2 cups cold water
3 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped tomato
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 teaspoon red curry paste
4 (2 x 1/2–inch) lime rind strips
1 (13.5-ounce) can light coconut milk
12 littleneck clams, scrubbed
12 mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (6-ounce) skinned halibut fillet or other lean white fish fillet, cut into 1-inch pieces
Lime wedges (optional)
How to Make It
Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add shrimp shells to pan; cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 1/2 cup celery, 1/2 cup carrot, and 1/2 cup onion to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Stir in 2 1/2 cups water, peppercorns, and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain mixture through a sieve over a bowl; discard solids.
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add remaining 1/2 cup celery, 1/2 cup carrot, and 1/2 cup onion to pan; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add bell pepper; cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato, garlic, curry paste, and rind; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in broth mixture and coconut milk; bring to a boil. Add clams and mussels. Cover, reduce heat, and cook 2 minutes or until clams and mussels open. Remove from heat; discard any unopened shells. Stir in shrimp, basil, and remaining ingredients except lime wedges. Cover and let stand 5 minutes or until shrimp and halibut are done. Discard lime rind. Place 2 clams and 2 mussels in each of 6 bowls. Divide shrimp and fish evenly among bowls. Ladle 2/3 cup broth mixture over each serving. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.
Wine note: In the south of France, bouillabaisse is traditionally served with a dry rosé. And dry rosé is the best choice even with this not-so-traditional version. The kick of the red curry paste and cilantro, plus the exotic thick creaminess of the coconut milk, need a refreshing wine that has more weight and power than a white. Try any number of rosés from California. One of my favorites: Saxon Brown Flora Ranch Rosé 2006 from Chalk Hill ($20). —Karen MacNeil
The cook times were not quite accurate (at least on my stove). As another reviewer pointed out, it took longer for mussels and clams to open than 2 minutes. Same with shrimp and fish. I personally was expecting more of a red curry flavor and hence maybe it would be better if I added more red curry paste. Like another reviewer, we felt it was far too thin and would likely have been better with regular coconut milk. I'm unsure of how much this affects the calorie content, but it may be one those recipes where the fewer calories just aren't worth it. I will be in search of another red curry seafood dish before attempting variations of this one again.
So far I have made this recipe twice and twice it has been a huge hit. The first time I used pre-shucked mussels and clams and the second I used shelled ones. The shelled mussels and clams took about 6 minutes to open up instead of two. The recipe is great with either. Also, I used half a pound of tiny scallops instead of the haddockthe second time and that was great as well! This recipe gives is excellent as is but just as easily accommodates personal preferences. Adding a bit of hot sauce, eliminating the added salt and peeper, using all cilantro instead of basil and cilantro all worked out just as well for us as following the original recipe.