My uncle makes this classic French seafood stew from Normandy for us, which contains two hallmark ingredients of the region: cream and cider. These make it quite different from its southern counterpart bouillabaisse. Make sure that you use dry cider not a sweet one.
Prep + cook time 1 hour
- 250g small black mussels, scrubbed, beards removed
- 11/2 cups (375ml) dry cider
- 50g butter, chopped
- 2 shallots, chopped finely
- 1 leek, white part only, sliced thinly
- 2 stalks celery, chopped finely
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1/2 cup (125ml) pouring cream
- 300g snapper or other firm white fish fillets, cut into 6cm pieces
- 300g salmon, cut into 6cm pieces
- 600g medium green king prawns, shelled, deveined, with tails intact
- 2 tablespoons chervil sprigs or chopped flat-leaf parsley
To serve: crusty bread
Place mussels and ½ cup (125ml) cider in a small saucepan. Cover; bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook, shaking pan occasionally, for 5 minutes or until mussels open (see tip). Remove pan from heat. Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl. Return pan to heat, add mussel cooking liquid; simmer for a few minutes or until reduced to ¼ cup (60ml).
Heat butter in a wide deep frying pan over medium heat. Add shallots, leek, celery and garlic; cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until softened. Add remaining cider, reduced mussel cooking liquid and the cream; bring to the boil. Add snapper and salmon; cook, covered, for 3 minutes. Add prawns; cook, covered, for a further 3 minutes or until all seafood is just cooked through. Return mussels to pan; cook for 2 minutes or until heated through.
Serve the stew divided among bowls, topped with chervil, and with crusty bread on the side for mopping up all the delicious sauce.
Some mussels might not open after cooking – these may not have cooked as quickly as the others – and some will not open even after excessive cooking. There’s no need to discard these; just pry open carefully with a knife and cook a little more.
Extracted from Jude’s Food by Judy and Anna Heinrich; rrp: $39.99; Bauer Media Books.
Available where all good books are sold and online at www.bauerbooks.com.au