Chef Walter’s Flavors + Knowledge: Guazzetto of Seafood
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
With the summer fast approaching here in New England and with the rich variety of seafood available this particular dish becomes almost de rigueur to make especially because of its simplicity. Of course the fish selection is as important as the technical process. This is not really a fish soup, but then there is no exact translation for guazzetto, which is a rather wet tomato-based fish dish. In this recipe the freshness of the fish will determine the outcome. A particular sensibility to fish is needed to understand how to bring it all together without overcooking. Not to confuse with Bouillabaisse, classic French fish soup from the Mediterranean region of Provence. Traditionally, bouillabaisse was made with various Mediterranean fish and seafood such as scorpion fish and conger, as well as shellfish like mussels and crab. In addition to the fish and seafood, bouillabaisse includes various vegetables, herbs and spices including tomatoes, onions, leeks, garlic, saffron, fennel, orange peel and bay leaves. In the traditional method of serving bouillabaisse, the broth is presented in a bowl, along with toast rounds garnished with a sauce called rouille (which is similar to aioli), with the fish and seafood presented on a separate platter. Modern bouillabaisse is served with all the ingredients together in a single bowl. Guazzetto, however is solely served with roasted country bread rubbed with garlic.
20 little necks or Manila clams, cleaned
20 mussels, cleaned and de-bearded
6 medium-sized calamari cut into squares, with tentacles
8 large prawns, unshelled
8 large scampi, cleaned and de-veined
2 pounds white fish fillets, cut into bite-sized pieces
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup tomato sauce
4 fresh, ripe tomatoes, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon chili pepper
Flat-leaf parsley, freshly chopped
Clean and prepare the seafood.
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan. Add the clams and white wine and steam until they open. Strain off the liquor to remove any sand and set the clams aside. Repeat, to open the mussels. Wipe the pan clean and heat a little more oil. Quickly sear the prawns until they turn pink. Set aside while you repeat with the scampi and calamari. Finally, sear the fish fillets on both sides and set aside with the other seafood.
Add the tomato sauce to the pan and bring to the boil. Add the fresh tomatoes and chili. Carefully return the seafood to the pan, starting with the fish, then the prawns, scampi, calamari, mussels and clams.
Add the strained liquor, avoiding any sand. If the dish is very thick you may need to add a little fish stock or water to thin slightly. Simmer for a few minutes until the flavors have melded. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve with grilled bread that has been rubbed with a little garlic and good olive oil.
Related Slideshow: Foodie Getaways in Massachusetts
Food lovers will love these destinations statewide for indulging your palate.
Vienna Historic Inn + Restaurant, Southbridge, MA
A feast for all your appetites. This historic inn is filled with old world charm, antiques, chandeliers & steins. Each room is adorned with soft music, ambience and uniqueness. You will be delighted with hard-to-find Austrian, German, Swiss, French as well local meats, seafood and vegan options. An extensive gluten-free menu available. The beer garden will be open through the end of the October.
Jewish Food Tour
Ahla Food Tours, Brookline, MA
Explore Jewish cuisine on this eye-opening 3-hour walking tour of historical Brookline and experience what TV Diner called a "fabulous Boston neighborhood tour!" and Jewish Advocate raved is "whetting the appetites of Jewish and non-Jewish diners alike". You'll taste authentic Jewish food - matzo ball soup, latkes, falafel, kosher wines, noodle kugel ice cream and dozens more. Hear unique anecdotes about the welcoming Brookline purveyors and savor the rich history of Jewish Brookline.
Blue Hills Brewery, Canton, MA
We're lucky in Massachusetts to have many microbreweries, large and small, for touring and tasting. But Blue Hills Brewery has combined its makes great tasting beers with a real educational imperative--an internship. A dream come true for beer lovers, candidates can vie for working with Blue Hills' Master Brewer Andris Veidis in a true apprenticeship. Not for the casual brewer. To learn more, check online, here. http://bluehillsbrewery.com/internship.php
Sweet Dessert Bar, Worcester, MA
A dessert lover's destination, Sweet was recently in the news for having challenged New York chef Dominique Ansel as laying claim to the invention of the cronut. Whether you're team Worcester or team NYC, enjoy Sweet's lounge chairs or sit at the bar, have a drink and watch as the chefs prepare a one of a kind dish for you. Not your average piece of cake, Sweet's appetizers and desserts are inspired by the freshest local ingredients, seasonal fruits, and artisan chocolates.
Old + New Dining
The Farm Table, Bernardston, MA
In the lush Pioneer Valley between Deerfield and the Vermont border, this remarkably restored 1800 farmhouse features cutting-edge green energy and the freshest local and regional foods seasonally available. Combine a delicious sojourn with holiday shopping at Kringle Candle and Kringle Christmas Barn.
Fried Clam Pilgrimage
Woodman's of Essex, Essex, MA
Keep summer alive year-round by making a pilgrimage to this institution that is counting down to its 100-year anniversary. Go for the fried clams, because that's what was invented here on July 3rd, 1916. Lawrence "Chubby" Woodman, at the humorous suggestion of a friend, fried up a few clams at his roadside stand in Essex, Massachusetts and the original fried clams were born.
East Dennis Oyster Farm, Cape Cod, MA
If you think oysters are a summer pleasure, you're right but you're wrong. Late October and November yield some of the best oysters, so consider bundling up and heading to the Cape for a tour of John and Stephanie Lowell's farm on the tidal flats off Quivett Neck. To make an appointment for a tour, go here.
Hit the Trail
Massachusetts Wine + Cheese Trail
A wine and cheese trail in Massachusetts? That’s right, the Bay State features 40 licensed wineries, producing wine from a collection of locally grown fruits – grapes, apples, cranberries, peaches, and blueberries – across, roughly, a total of 2,200-acres of wine farm land, where 439 acres are devoted exclusively to wine production. You can download a map and pick up the trail at any place, exploring small and pristine providers.
Wine in the City
City Wine Tours, Cambridge, MA
Want an urban oenophelia adventure? City Wine Tours is the perfect gateway to enjoying Boston's vibrant wine culture and best restaurants. Sip, savor, and explore as we take you on a walking tour through Boston's most historic neighborhoods, with stops at award-winning restaurants, luxury hotels and gourmet wine shops. Cheers.
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Dishcrawl Pioneer Valley, Springfield, MA
You love a pub crawl? How about a restaurant crawl? The foodies at Dishcrawl aim to provide you with Pioneer Valley's premier culinary social experience by bringing together neighborhood restaurants, local chefs, regional food producers and fellow food enthusiasts. Join for a one-of-a-kind gastronomic adventure! Check out next week's All Hallows Eve crawl in Amherst, MA.
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