A favorite in Provence, this seafood stew is often ladled over thick slices of French bread. The pistou, France's version of pesto, kicks the flavor up a notch. The stew mellows as it stands, so it can even be made ahead.
6 whole allspice
2 (2 x 1-inch) orange rind strips
1 thyme sprig
1 bay leaf
1 dried hot red chile
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large)
3/4 cup chopped celery (about 2 stalks)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine or fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, un-drained
1 (8-ounce) bottle clam juice
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/8 teaspoon saffron threads
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
6 ounces halibut fillet, cut into pieces
6 ounces sea scallops
6 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
How to Make It
Place first 5 ingredients on a double layer of cheesecloth. Gather edges of cheesecloth together; tie securely.
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add wine, and cook 1 to 2 minutes or until liquid evaporates, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add cheesecloth bag, tomatoes, and next 4 ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, 35 minutes.
While stew simmers, combine basil and next 4 ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth. Spoon pistou into a small bowl; set aside.
Remove cheesecloth bag from stew, and discard. Bring stew to a boil. Stir in fish and scallops; cover and cook 2 minutes. Stir in shrimp; cover and cook 3 minutes or until seafood is done. Ladle soup into bowls, and top with pistou.