Seafood Stew with Parsley Aïoli Recipe

Seafood Stew with Parsley Aïoli

An elegant Ragoût de Fruits de Mer recipe using different cuts of fish and shellfish. It is served with parsley Aïoli, a nice variation of the traditional Sauce Rouille normally used for fish stews in the Provence.

If you cannot find pearl couscous – also known as moghrabieh, mughrabia, berkuki or Lebanese couscous – substitute it with Israeli couscous (smaller than the pearl couscous). Orzo, the Greek pasta, is fine too, but take care not to overcook it. Don’t use regular couscous, it will spoil the appealing texture of the dish.

Yield: 4 servings

Time: 60 minutes


Seafood Stew:

  • 12 medium-size shrimps, shells, heads, and veins removed but leaving the tails intact. Save shells and heads!
  • 1/2 lb (225 g) white firm-fleshed fish, such as cod or snapper, cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 lb (225 g) Monkfish or other firm-fleshed fish, cut into large cubes
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely diced
  • 2 celery sticks, finely diced
  • 3 saffron threads, optional
  • 8 oz (240 ml) dry white wine
  • 1 Tbsp Cognac
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup (80 g) pearl couscous or Greek orzo
  • 2 Tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Parsley Aïoli:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 5 Tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • sea salt to taste
  • pepper to taste


Seafood Stew:

For the shrimp stock place heads and shells in a saucepan with 4 cups (1 L) water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain liquid into a bowl and discard shells and heads. Set aside.

Add oil to the saucepan and sauté the onion, carrot, and celery over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add saffron (optional) and cook for 1 minute further. Add the cognac and wine. Bring it to a rapid boil for 5 minutes to reduce the wine, concentrating the flavors. Add the shrimp stock and bay leaves. Simmer over low heat uncovered for about 20 minutes (in the meantime prepare the Parsley Aïoli as described below).

Add lemon juice and the couscous. Simmer for 5 minutes more. Add fish, shellfish, and chopped parsley. Simmer it gently for 10 minutes longer. At this point, the couscous and fish should be done. Adjust for salt and pepper. Add the chopped scallion.

Parsley Aioli:

Place egg yolks, garlic, and vinegar in the blender. Process until pale and foamy. With the motor running add the extra virgin olive oil in a thin steady stream. Continue processing until it has reached the consistency of a thick mayonnaise. Add chopped parsley, salt, pepper, and a little extra vinegar if necessary. Process it again until the desired consistency is achieved. Makes about 1 1/4 cup (300 ml) Aioli.

Serve this thick steaming stew in large bowls topped with dollops of parsley Aïoli and a nice crusty bread on the side.

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