Fish Stew with Fennel and Potatoes for the Rainy Days of Spring

Tomorrow is one of my favorite days of the year, and as such tonight feels like the eve of something fun. Tomorrow, we set our clocks ahead. I almost used an exclamation point there, but am reserved for a few reasons:

1. I hated George W. Bush’s presidency. Everything about it. If you stop reading now, fine. Have a nice and lovely life. If you are still reading, and you don’t already know, I threatened to move to France and ended 2 relationships over this little situation. BUT! Possibly the worst, most lasting effect that really gets me is that daylight savings time was moved to tomorrow. It used to be that the days were warm and I was ready for an extra hour to ride my bike or practice my foul shot down the block. Now, it is tomorrow. Its not even Spring, scientifically speaking.

2. Speaking of spending time outside, here in the Northeast, it is pouring down rain like nobody’s business. And it is going to continue to do so for several more days. So we will get an extra hour to watch the sky fall. We are also expecting 60mph sustained winds and I’m praying that my neighbor’s Norway Maple will finally fall down to let some sun in on my vegetable garden this summer. But don’t tell him.

Ok, enough gloom. It is daylight savings and below I have a rich, creamy and delicious fisherman’s chowder to stick to your ribs for clearing the garden or the closet or whatever your Spring rituals are.

Fish Stew with Fennel and Potatoes
3 T butter
3 slices bacon, cut crosswise into lardons
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 medium blub fennel, chopped
2 qts fish stock
1 cup white wine
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
a pinch of dried thyme
1 bay leaf
a dash of cayenne pepper
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
Sea Salt and Pepper
2 lbs firm-fleshed white fish, today I used tilefile, porgy and squid
2 lbs scallops, sliced in half if large

A crusty baguette (for serving)

In a heavy-bottomed pot, melt the butter, then add the bacon lardons. Cook until crisp, then remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate and reserve. Into the pot, add the onions and cook until softened, then add the fennel and continue to cook until all is soft. Add the stock, wine, potatoes, thyme, bay leaf and cayenne. Simmer gently until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Add the milk and the heavy cream, bring to a simmer. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Add the fish and the scallops and just heat through – don’t boil or the fish will start to fall apart. Serve immediately with crunchy bacon on top and a slice of crusty bread.

  • Diane Carson

    Congrats on the link! Has the show been on in NY or NJ yet? So glad that you had a great vacation! Love to you and Mark…miss you!

  • Grandma

    Dear Emily,
    Would you believe that Gammy’s sister, Tanta, who lived with us, used to fry bacon in butter. (I hated it…it was so greasy it tasted slimey…and I was still a kid. That was ages ago.

    Everything else about the recipe sounds good…I’m going to give it a try.

    Thank you.

    And, one of these days, I’ll pull out the monster tome and look for the recipe for the White Fruit Cake.

    love you, lots…and give my love to that cute guy, Mark….

    • Emily

      So interesting, my bacon almost burned it got so crisp in the butter. I can’t wait for the “monster tome.” You, I and Celia need to catch up over the cookbooks I have and need an ancestral map for.