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Seafood Stews: Healthful Recipes from Around the World


I love the seafood stews that come from almost every region that borders on an ocean! They’re wonderful served over whole grains instead of white rice or pasta. Here are some of my favorites to get you started.

High concentrations of mercury and other toxins have raised concerns about the safety of some seafoods, but this appears to be a turf battle between various fishing interests more than an actual health threat. I believe that the benefits of seafood far outweigh the potential health concerns. If you are pregnant or nursing, check with your doctor for the latest guidance.

Cioppino (from Italy)

2 large onions, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 green peppers, or 1 green and 1 red, chopped

2-3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped, to taste

3 stalks celery, chopped

2 cups bouillon or dry red wine, or some of each

1 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, undrained, broken up

1 6-ounce can tomato paste

1 tablespoon Italian spice blend or oregano

3 small zucchini, halved lengthwise, then cut in 1/4″ slices

3 pounds (total) seafood — your choice: shrimp, squid, any firm white fish cut in 1″ chunks, clams, mussels, scallops, etc.

1/2 cup chopped flat parsley

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

cooked whole grains of your choice (optional)

Combine the onions, garlic, peppers, celery and bouillon or wine in a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, 10-15 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste and spice blend and cook 10 minutes more. Add the zucchini. Return the liquid to a boil and add the seafood. Cover the pot, reduce the heat and cook, stirring once or twice, until the seafood is done (5-10 minutes.) Add the parsley and black pepper; serve over whole grains if desired.

8-10 servings

Kejenou (from Africa)

1 large onion, chopped

2 green peppers, chopped

1 cup bouillon + 1 extra teaspoon bouillon granules

8 parsnips, sliced

1 28 oz. can Italian style (plum) tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 pound fresh green beans, sliced, or 1 cup frozen green beans

1 pound firm white fish fillet of your choice, cut in chunks

Cooked whole grains (optional)

Cook the onion and green peppers in the bouillon for 5 minutes to softern. Add the parsnips, tomatoes and spices and cook 10-15 minutes or until the parsnips are just tender. Add the green beans and simmer 5 minutes; add the fish chunks and simmer 5 minutes more, or until the fish is firm and no longer translucent, and the green beans are crisp-tender. Serve over whole grains.

4-6 servings

Paella (from Spain)

1 large onion, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup bouillon

2 teaspoons oregano

pinch cayenne, to taste

4 cups cooked barley, brown rice or other whole grains of your choice

1 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, undrained, broken up

1 red bell pepper, cut in 1/2″ chunks

1 pound asparagus, cut in 1-2″ pieces (reserve the tips)

1 6-ounce jar artichoke hearts, drained

2-3 pounds cleaned mixed seafood of your choice (peeled shrimp, scallops, lobster tails, mussels, clams, 1″ chunks of any fish)

Cook the onion, celery and garlic in the bouillon to soften, 5-10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients except the asparagus tips; bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, 10-15 minutes or until the asparagus are tender. Stir in the asparagus tips, artichokes and seafood, cover and cook about 5 minutes more, or until the seafood is opaque and any shells are opened.

6-8 servings

Louisiana Oysters and Shrimp

4 cups water

2 bay leaves

1 pound shrimp

1 onion, chopped

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 green pepper, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley

1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste

2 teaspoon fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

3 cups okra or green beans, cut in bite-size pieces (fresh or frozen)

1 pint shucked oysters and their liquid

Freshly ground black pepper

Cooked brown rice or barley

Bring the water and bay leaf to a boil in a pot, add half of the shrimp and cook just until they turn pink, about 2 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon and put them in a colander. Bring the liquid back to a boil and cook the other half of the shrimp the same way. Run cold water over the shrimp, drain and set them aside. Strain the cooking liquid and return 1 cup of it to the pot. Bring the liquid to a boil, add the chopped onion, garlic, green pepper and celery, and simmer 5-10 minutes or until they are tender. Add the tomatoes, parsley, hot sauce, thyme and fennel to the pot and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the okra or beans and simmer 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel the shrimp. Add shrimp and the oysters (with their liquid) and cook just until the oyster edges are curled, about 5 minutes. Serve over brown rice, with ground pepper and additional hot sauce to taste.