Tuscan Island–Style Shellfish Stew
Serves 4 as a main course, 8 as a first course
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
4 to 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Large pinch of hot red pepper flakes or 1/2 Serrano chile, finely sliced
1 cup dry white wine
31/2 pounds shellfish, such as mussels, clams, and/or cockles, scrubbed
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley or basil
6 large slices crusty peasant bread, toasted (optional)
Sauté the garlic in the olive oil. In a large heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, warm 3 tablespoons of the oil. Add the garlic and hot pepper flakes and sauté, stirring frequently, until the garlic is soft and just beginning to turn golden, 3 to 4 minutes; do not allow to brown.
Add the wine and reduce. Add the wine, increase the heat to high, and boil until reduced by half, 6 to 7 minutes.
Cook the shellfish in the garlic–wine mixture. Add the shellfish, cover, and cook, shaking the pan frequently to rearrange them, until all the shells have opened, 5 to 7 minutes. Finish the sauce and serve. Toss in the herbs and the remaining tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil (or butter, if you prefer). If desired, place a slice of toasted bread in each shallow soup bowl. Spoon the shellfish and sauce on top of the bread. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil, if desired.
Note: Garlic cloves often have a green sprout in the center that can give a bitter flavor to the dish. Before slicing, halve each clove lengthwise and remove the sprout with the tip of a paring knife.
Copyright© 2006 by Sally Schneider. Used by permission of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, New York. All Rights Reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form whatsoever or stored in a database or retrieval system without the prior written permission of William Morrow.