A summer stew how-to

by Marcy Roberts (Madewell)

It’s peak harvest season, so farmer’s markets are bursting with everything from tomatoes to herbs to beets to carrots to peaches to plums. And this past weekend, I decided to visit my local greenmarket for some dinner inspiration—and grabbed what turned out to be the makings of a delicious fish stew: littleneck clams, striped bass, yellow beans, Poblano peppers, Yukon gold potatoes, basil and a couple of onions.

 

Though concepting dishes isn’t my specialty, I’m really great at finding tasty recipes and tweaking them based on the contents of my cupboard. So after a little Googling, I dug up an amazing New York Times recipe for Provençal fish stew and put my own little twist on it. Here’s how to recreate it:

 

INGREDIENTS

1 leek, chopped

2 Poblano peppers, seeded and cut into thin strips

2 carrots, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 pinch of saffron

1 14 0z. can peeled Italian tomatoes (pureed)

4 Yukon gold potatoes, cut into fourths

1 lb. yellow string beans

2 dozen clams

1 cup dry white wine

1 pound fish fillets (striped bass, red snapper or cod)

1/2 cup chopped basil

 

PREPARATION

1. Slice the leek and place it in a bowl of cold water. Rinse thoroughly to make sure all the grit is removed.

2. In a large pot, sauté the peppers, carrots and garlic in the olive oil with the pepper flakes until soft but not brown. Add the tomatoes and about a cup of water. Add the potatoes and simmer gently for about 10 minutes. Add the beans and cook for another 10 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked.

3. Meanwhile, scrub the clams. Heat the white wine in a large pan and add the clams, cooking over high heat until they open (about 6-10 minutes). Remove them from the pan as soon as they open their shells; otherwise, they will become tough. Strain the cooking liquid (I line a strainer with a paper towel to grab all the sand) and add it to the tomatoes and vegetables along with the saffron.

4. Cut the fish fillet into two-inch pieces and add to the casserole, cover and cook for 5-6 minutes. Add the clams just long enough to heat through.

5. Sprinkle with basil and serve immediately (with a crusty baguette!).