The inspiration for this came from the book on Tuscan coastal cooking, Acquacotta, by Emiko Davies (Hardie Grant, 2017). The original recipe calls for clams and no fish, but I had fresh prawns and halibut on hand. I was also cooking beans and well, you know, beans.
Any of our white beans will work, except maybe Marcellas. They would be fine but I suspect they'd be too delicate and their charm would be lost, or worse, they'd just fall apart.
The stew can be made ahead a day or two up to the point of adding the fish and prawns. You can reheat the pot the next day and once simmering, add the seafood.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 yellow onions, thinly sliced into half-moons
- 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 teaspoon Rancho Gordo New Mexican Red Chile Powder
- 1 large can (700g) whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups cooked Rancho Gordo Alubia Blanca or other white heirloom beans
- 1 to 2 pounds halibut or another sturdy white fish, cut into cubes
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 4 to 6 thick slices stale (or toasted) rustic bread
- Lemon wedges for serving
Serves 4 to 6
- In a large pot over low heat, warm the oil. Add the onions, celery, and a small pinch of salt; saute, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes. Don't allow the onions to brown. Add the garlic and chile powder; cook, stirring, for a minute.
- Empty the can of tomatoes into a bowl and with your hands, break up the tomatoes into small pieces. Add to the simmering pot along with 2 cups of water. Stir and gently simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.
- Add the beans. Check for seasoning and add salt to taste. Bring the pot back to a simmer and add the fish and shrimp. Cook until done, 2 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley.
- Place a piece of bread in the bottom of each bowl. Carefully ladle the stew over the bread. Serve with lemon wedges.