seafood pot-au-feu {ffwd}

Seafood Pot au Feu

(Sniff, sniff! This is the second-to-last recipe that the French Fridays with Dorie group will cook together. I’ll save my reflections for another week, but it seems impossible to be at this point.)

This week’s recipe was the perfect meal for springtime: Seafood Pot-au-Feu. This light, yet filling, seafood and vegetable stew really hit the spot this week.

I was fortunate that someone offered me their weekly fish share from Cape Ann Fresh Catch for this week. A fish share is like a CSA you might have at a farm, but it’s from a collective of fishermen. Quite a novel idea! You don’t know which fish you’ll be getting ahead of time, but I knew I would use whatever I got in my pot-au-feu.

The selection this week was dab. I wasn’t familiar with this fish, but it’s a flat white fish similar to flounder or sole. It was filleted and super fresh. I received 2 pounds, which was A LOT, so I used some in the stew and froze the rest for some meuniere or amandine (or both) in the next week or so.

Two pounds of Dab

Two pounds of Dab

The stew starts out by giving the longest cooking vegetables, potatoes, a head start in simmering broth with some aromatics. Then sliced carrots, leeks and scallions are added the pot. I really loved how you can prep the vegetables as you go along. No need for mise-en-place. Finally, sliced mushrooms join the mix. My potatoes needed some extra time, so I just let it cook until the potatoes were nearly tender.

Veggies and Aromatics

Once the vegetables are cooked, they are scooped from the broth and the mussels are steamed. Then, the mussels are removed and the vegetables go back into the pot. Seems a little fussy, but I think it was worth it because there was no interference when removing the mussels from their shells. I suppose you could leave the mussels in the shell for the diner to deal with. We’ve done that in other recipes. I’m not always in the mood to eat with my fingers, and I found that I liked being able to just enjoy spoonfuls with no fiddling.

Finally, the fish is poached for a few minutes before adding back the mussels, some scallops, and some sugar snap peas to warm everything up. (I partially cooked the snap peas because I had to buy them frozen — not in season yet).

Simmering

I took a few liberties with the recipe to adjust to what was at hand, but it was no less delicious. As I mentioned, I used dab for the salmon. I substituted homemade fish stock from the freezer for the chicken broth (seemed like a natural fit). I also used double the mussels because they were only sold in two-pound bags. I opted for half a pound of bay scallops instead of sea scallops because they were half the price. The adaptations reinforce that this delicious meal can easily be made with whatever looks best at the fish counter.

We both really enjoyed this. The weather warmed up with a vengeance, jumping immediately to summer temperatures with not much intervening spring (though I suspect that spring will come back). Honestly, I don’t always enjoy hot soup when it’s hot outside, but this worked. It was more like a fish and seafood dinner, eaten with a spoon.

If you want to try this at home, you can find the recipe in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. To see other interpretations of this recipe by my Dorista friends, check their links here.

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Posted on 8 May 2015, in Fish, French Fridays with Dorie and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. You’ve mirrored my thoughts on this recipe (and the weather) very well!
    It has been a gorgeous weather week it the northeast. It makes me joyful.

  2. peggygilbey814628432

    Hi Betsy, the fresh seafood collective sounds amazing and it was great you could incorporate it into your seafood pot au feu, which I love. Though I don’t cook along with Dorie it has been really enjoyable following along since joining the CCC. What an accomplishment for all. Have a terrific weekend!

  3. Oh, yeah, the heat is on here, too! But I didn’t mind a warm dish for dinner—it was a winner. And lucky you with the seafood donation!

  4. I love the idea of a fish share. Though, I’m guessing where you live, it’s not so difficult to find fresh fish at the market. We can get it here, but we’re a ways from the ocean and so it costs us dearly.

  5. You definitely had fresh fish! I loved this one.

  6. The Dab fish looks amazing in that picture, this dish was enjoyed in our house!

  7. Betsy, are those Sand Dabs? I buy those, fresh, in California but mine are smaller than yours. Maybe they are two different fish. Anyway, your soup looks delicious. It still kills me that you can pull homemade stock, especially fish stock, from your freezer at will. I could tell you that I don’t have freezer room for my own stock but, even when I did, I didn’t bother with making it. My bad, definitely. A “fish share” sounds neat. Never heard of that one. Nice effort this week – I look forward to making this recipe. It’s off-season, no fish were buying in sight.

  8. I have never heard of a fish share, but I am very jealous. That fish looks gorgeous. I loved this recipe. Easily adaptable, and perfect for spring. I definitely plan to make it again.

  9. I second Jora’s statement of a fish share, sounds interesting. I also have never heard of Dab
    fish but it looks quite delicious. This is a great method for cooking all the fish, I will try
    again but without the ginger flavor.

  10. Oh do I wish I could be part of a fish share! Sounds marvelous! I totally agree that this was a wonderful dish that adapts easily to whatever fish you have. It was the perfect dish for a lovely spring evening!! I’m loving this gorgeous weather, I even got my garden ready for planting!! Have a great weekend, Betsy!

  11. I would love to be part of fish share. I doubt there are any in my area too far from the ocean. I think fish stock was a really good call, chicken stock did nothing for the flavor. Really love your adaptation, better than the original.

  12. Glad this was a hit with you. I did a make-up this week. I can’t believe I didn’t find this group 4 years ago and now it’s over. Sniff, sniff.

  13. Betsy, glad you enjoyed it and totally agree with your characterization of the dish being a seafood dinner eaten with a spoon. We were both surprised at the high protein content of each serving. :) Enjoy the warmer temperatures! My friend from Somerville was elated that the mercury broke 60 degrees!

  14. This really was a perfect dish for Spring. I love that you used whatever fish you received from the fish share – I kind of like the element of surprise with things like that.

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