Northwest Bouillabaisse

Northwest Bouillabaisse

1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
2 small bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or basil, crushed
1/8 teaspoon ground saffron
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 sprigs fresh parsley
1/4 cup tomato paste
11/2 quarts clam juice (six 8-ounce bottles)
2 cups dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock or broth
11/2 pounds small clams, thoroughly scrubbed and rinsed (15 to 20)
1 pound ling cod, sole or red snapper, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 pound halibut, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 pound salmon, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 whole Dungeness crabs, cleaned and cracked

In heavy saucepan, heat olive oil over moderate heat until light haze forms. Add onions, celery and garlic. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Do not allow vegetables to turn brown. Stir in bay leaves, thyme, saffron, orange zest, parsley and tomato paste. Mix thoroughly. Pour in clam juice, wine and chicken stock or broth. Bring to boil over high heat, then partially cover pan and reduce heat to low. Simmer undisturbed for 30 minutes.

Strain simmered stock through fine sieve set over large bowl, pressing down firmly on vegetables and herbs with back of spoon. Return strained stock to saucepan. Bring to boil. Drop in clams, ling cod, halibut and salmon. Reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, about 6 minutes before adding shrimp and crab. Simmer an additional 3 to 4 minutes until clams have opened and fish flakes easily. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Note: Serve with French bread brushed with garlic olive oil and dried 30 to 45 minutes in a 200-degree oven.

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