I don't know where to start today. You want to eat this? I want to eat this? I guess that's as good a place as any. I want to eat this, and I just finished eating it for lunch. We also had it for dinner last night. And I made a different version the night before. The sheer volume of consumption alone should tell you something.

So, what is it? It's a simple seafood stew I ripped out of Bon Appétit—have you noticed how many good, simple dinner recipes they've been offering in the Quick Recipes section recently?—and it hits all the right notes. Garlic, wine, crème fraîche, plenty of broth, good fresh fish. The original version calls for just fennel and potatoes, which makes it more of a right now stew, but in the second version I cheated the seasons a bit (ok a lot) and went high summer with an ear of corn, chorizo, littlenecks, and a handful of cherry tomatoes. 

Whichever version you make—or even if you come up with a rendition that's all your own—I think you'll find yourself using this recipe again and again as a base. It's the perfect summer seafood stew—lots of flavor, quick to prep, and easy to get ready ahead of time if you want dinner ten minutes from ready when you get back from the beach. And you can use pretty much any seafood you want—lobster, shrimp, mussels, any light white fish, or even something meatier like halibut. 

In summary: it's delicious, it's flexible, and if you've got company, it's also pretty. Happy summer, friends.


I'm going to publish my "high summer" rendition of the stew here, as you can easily check out the simpler original over here at Bon Appétit. Think of this as a base with endless possibilities, and you've got your summer dinner parties mapped out.

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup chorizo sausage, cut into bite-size pieces
3 small potatoes (8 ounces), cut into bite size pieces 1/4-inch thick
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 large fennel bulb, cut into thin ribbons
black pepper to taste
1/2 cup white wine
3 cups water
kernels from 1 ear corn, cut off the cob
a handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup crème fraîche
12 littlenecks
3/4 pound flounder, cut into 2-inch pieces

Warm up the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chorizo and cook for 5-6 minutes, until it starts to brown around the edges. Add the potatoes and salt and cook another 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and fennel and pepper to taste. Turn the heat up to high and pour in the white wine. Bring to a boil and cook until almost completely evaporated, about 4-5 minutes. Add the water, corn, and tomatoes and bring back to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. (Note: this is your stopping point if you want to prep the base of the stew ahead of time.)

Add the crème fraîche and stir until it dissolves. Add the littlenecks, bring the soup back to a simmer, then cover and cook for 3 minutes. Add the flounder, cover again, and cook another 4-5 minutes. Taste for salt and add more as needed. Serve hot.

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