Venetian Seafood Stew

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Seafood stews are not easy to make because you really have to cook each kind of fish separately so that nothing is overcooked," Francesco advises. The end result is fresh, light, and simple. Some tiny red potatoes, like the ones that beckon invitingly from the baskets in Venice's Rialto market, could simply be steamed, dusted with fresh rosemary, drizzled with olive oil, and served alongside the seafood stew, to be added to each dish at the table.

5 tablespoons (75 ml) extra virgin olive oil
12 mussels
1 pound (500 g) cockles, manila clams, or littleneck clams
4 to 5 cups (1 to 1.25 L) fish stock 
1 bulb fresh fennel, sliced
4 small carrots, peeled
1 cup (250 ml) dry white wine
1 pound (500 g) jumbo shrimp (prawns), shelled
12 ounces (375 g) salmon fillet, in 3-inch (7.5 cm) chunks
1 bunch scallions (spring onions), trimmed to 3-inch (7.5 cm) lengths
Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
4 cups (1 kg) cooked barlotti (cranberry) beans

Heat 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the oil in a heavy 4- to 5-quart (4- to 5-L) saucepan or shallow casserole. Add the mussels and cockles or clams, cover, and steam over medium heat until they open, about 10 minutes. Remove the mussels and cockles from the pan with a slotted spoon, place in a bowl, and cover.

Add 4 cups (1 L) of the fish stock and the fennel, carrots, and wine to the saucepan and bring to a simmer, add the shrimp. Cook about a minute, until the shrimp turn pink, then remove them with a slotted spoon. Place in a dish and cover. Add the Salmon and bass to the pan, cook about 2 minutes, turn the pieces of fish, then return the shrimp, mussels and cockles to the pan.

Add the scallions and season the stock with salt and pepper. Add the beans, bring to a simmer, and, if necessary, add the additional stock. Stir in the remaining olive oil and serve in shallow bowls.


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