Saturday night soup and salad dinner at mom's

Blog PhotoMade the cioppino (Mediterranean Seafood Stew) and took it to my mom's for a soup and salad dinner on Saturday night.  I made the base on Friday so the flavors could meld.  It's a tomato base stew with garlic, leeks, carrots and red bell pepper. It also has some dry white wine (I used vermouth), chicken or vegetable broth,  and clam juice.  Seasonings are thyme, basil and parsely as well as fennel seeds, saffron, and lemon zest. It uses crusty wheat bread as the thickener.  The instructions have you simmer the base for 20 minutes, then add the seafood to finish.  I added a garnish of parmesan cheese and parsely.    

The ingredients in the recipe below are as written in the Low-fat Living Cookbook but you can use any firm white fish and shell fish you have or like. I used the accumulated small pieces and half packages of seafood from the freezer reorganization and purchased clams and lump crabmeat.  The seafood mix was swordfish,  halibut, two small lobster tails, and half a pound of sea scallops.  

Everyone really enjoyed the stew, but I noticed that not every serving had the same variety of seafood.  My daughter, a former restaurant manager, said that they would have the soup base made ahead like I did and as cioppino was ordered, they'd heat up a serving of the soup base and add a seafood mix portion for each order.  So I was wondering what I could use to make packages to put in the soup rather than making a portion at a time.  Thought to try saving my lemon and lime plastic netting and see how that works.  

My mom made a nice mixed green salad and my niece brought angel food cake and strawberries with whipped cream for dessert.

The occasion for the visit to mom's was primarily to see our grandson and his parents.  They were visiting from Colorado since last week for our son's Chicago wedding and this was their last stop before heading for home.  Sunday morning we celebrated my brother-in-law's birthday with some delicious breakfast casseroles and mimosas before saying goodbye to our grandson.  We stopped at the nursing home to have lunch with my dad on our way home.   Busy, fulfilling, and delicious weekend!

Mediterranean Fish Stew
From the Low-fat Living Cookbook by Leslie Cooper
Serves 6 to 8

2 T olive oil
1 large leek, sliced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 sweet red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
28-oz can low sodium peeled tomatoes with juice
2 cups bottled clam juice or fish stock
2 cups low-sodium tomato sauce
2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 slices crusty whole-grain bread, crumbled
1 tsp crushed saffron threads
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp grated lemon rind
8 oz halibut, cut into bite size pieces
8 oz swordfish, cut into bite size pieces
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 oz scallops
5 oz chopped clams
salt and pepper

In a large soup pot, sauté the leeks, garlic, peppers, and carrots in the olive oil for about 5 minutes.  Crush the canned tomatoes and add them and the juice to the pot.  Add the clam juice, tomato sauce, broth, wine, parsley, basil, bread, saffron, fennel, thyme and lemon zest.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  This is the stew base and can be made a couple of days in advance.  Then reheat and proceed.

Add the fish first and cook for about 5 minutes, then add the shell fish and cook about 3 minutes longer, or until fish is just cooked through.  Season with salt and pepper.  

Goes well with crusty bread.  

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