When you spend all day every day cooking, you cook a LOT of things.
When given carte blanche to cook a delicious meal for an intimate dinner gathering, my favorite thing to serve is a seafood stew. There are many forms: Cioppino with Italian side dishes; Bouillabaisse with french accoutrements and so on.
Seafood haters aside, we haven’t met one person who didn’t love our delicious tomato, fennel and white wine broth filled with fresh scallops, shrimp, clams, mussels and whatever wild white meaty fish looks best that day at the fish market. The dish is beautiful because the seafood is beautiful. We serve it with a grilled crostini floating across the top, lots of fresh herbs and a dollop of a garlicky aioli.
Eating this dish requires “fishing” mussels and clams out of their shells and dunking said crostini into the delicious broth; a process that breaks down any walls of pretension among those dining together. It’s hard to take yourself too seriously when you have steamy fish stew broth dripping down your chin and you’re motioning for your neighbor to pass you the dish of aioli for another dollop.
A light salad on the side is really all that’s needed to accompany this delicious dinner. It’s our favorite.