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Recipe: Revel in summer's bounty with Alaska seafood stew

Kim Sunée
Roasted garlic heads turn golden and lovely. For easy clean-up, place them on top of aluminum foil.
Kim Sunée photo
A small spoon and a bit of squeezing makes removing roasted cloves a breeze -- a sweet, rich and garlicky breeze.
Kim Sunée photo
Seafood stews are versatile and can accommodate whatever ingredients are on hand. With the recipe below, try a light-bodied wine like an albariño or rosé.
Kim Sunée photo
Seafood stews are found in many cultures around the world, and Alaskans -- who can become overwhelmed by fresh seafood as summer harvests peak -- should know that they're a great way to take advantage of the ocean's bounty.
Kim Sunée photo
In Alaska in the summer, the variety and sheer volume of seafood can be overwhelming. But when such amazing fresh ingredients are on hand, there's no reason to keep them from mingling in one pot.
Kim Sunée photo

Between clamming season, halibut season, and the hullabaloo of dipnetting upon us, it seems we are always open to new ideas on how best to feature the rich bounty of our Alaska waterways. One crowd-pleaser is big-pot cooking, like soups and chowders; there are wonderful variations in every culture, including gumbo, bourride, cioppino, zarzuela, and more.

For this seafood stew, I looked to the sunny Mediterranean, another area known for its amazing edible swimmers. Because it’s summer now, instead of heavy cream, I thought a tomato-and-garlic-based soup would be nice and light. Loosely inspired by bouillabaisse, which originated in the port city of Marseilles and combines shellfish and fish, this version offers the finishing touch of an easy roasted-garlic mayonnaise that gives a bit of kick and lots of flavor. Use your favorite fresh fish and seafood, including oysters, clams, shrimp, cod, halibut and salmon.

Seafood Stew with Roasted Garlic Aïoli

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
2 cups (about 10 ounces) small white potatoes cut into large dice
2 cups chopped fennel (1 large bulb)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup white wine
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 quart homemade stock, store-bought seafood stock or bottled clam juice*
1 pound (31/40 count) raw shrimp, preferably wild-caught, peeled and deveined
About 1 1/2 pounds fish filets, such as cod, halibut, and salmon, cut into large, bite-size pieces
1 1/2 pounds clams, cleaned and rinsed
2 teaspoons fresh grated orange zest (optional)
Fresh chopped parsley, as garnish
Serve with toasted baguette slices and Roasted Garlic Aioli (recipe follows)
Directions

1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat and add onions, potato, fennel, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Add wine and scrape bottom of pot. Increase heat to high and add tomatoes, garlic, and stock (see recipe below for a quick homemade stock). When liquid starts to boil, decrease heat to medium low and let simmer, uncovered 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

2. Add shrimp, fish, and clams, if including, and bring liquid back to a gentle boil; reduce heat to medium and cover pot for 5 minutes. Stir seafood, turn off heat and let sit, covered, 5 minutes. Stir in orange zest, if using, and a squeeze of fresh orange juice. Fish and shrimp should be cooked through; be careful not to overcook. Remove and discard any clams that have not opened. Taste broth and add more salt or pepper, as needed. Garnish with some fresh chopped parsley and serve with toasted baguette slices and Roasted Garlic Aioli. For a richer broth, stir some of the aioli into the soup.

What to Drink: A chilled rosé from Provence, a Spanish Albariño, a crisp white Sancerre, or an Austrian Grüner Silvaner.

Roasted Garlic Aioli

Ingredients

1 whole head of garlic
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Take one whole head of garlic and cut about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch off the top. Place head, cut side up, in a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil or in a baking tin and drizzle top with some olive oil, loosening the cloves with your fingers so that some oil penetrates. Wrap tightly with foil and bake for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the cloves are soft. Unwrap and let cool enough to handle. When cool, squeeze the cloves and smash them into the mayonnaise and cayenne pepper. Taste and add more cayenne, as needed.

*To make a quick stock for this recipe with unpeeled whole shrimp: Remove the shrimp shells and heads (and any fish scraps) and place them in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt; part of an onion (leaving the peel on is OK), some black peppercorns, a carrot, cut in half or quartered; a celery rib, and add enough water (and some white wine) to cover by about 2 inches or so. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium, simmering uncovered about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit about 10 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl or large measuring cup, discarding the solids.

Other great seafood recipes from around the Web:

2. Panko Fried Razor Clams from Alaska From Scratch
3. Shrimp Stuffed Shells from Cooking Light
4. Cajun Seafood Boil from Louisiana Cookin’
5. Chef Michael Cimarusti’s Wild Alaska Halibut with Morels and Asparagus