Scallions in hake and shrimp stew

We joined our first Community-Supported Fishery program, offered by the Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fisherman’s Association.  We paid about $60., and we get a fish share every Friday for five weeks.  The share’s guaranteed to be at least a pound and a quarter, but we’ve gotten more than that every time.  Our first week was about 1.5 pounds of haddock.  Then, a full 2 pounds of pollack.  This week, about 1.5 pounds of white hake.

Each week, we also get a flyer with recipes, and this week’s flyer featured a stew from Rick Moonen, who’s a prominent proponent of sustainable seafood and a supporter of the CCCHFA.

If anyone knows fish, it’s Rick Moonen.  I’ve enjoyed many meals at his New York restaurants, Molyvos and Oceana, and I even met him once, years ago, when we were both appearing on the same show at the Food Network.

The stew, which I modified only slightly, called for onion and leeks and scallions — I think it’s the first time I’ve used all three in one pot.  It’s a simple combinations of fish and shrimp, with potatoes and a little cream.  It’s easy, it’s beautiful, and it’s an excellent use for a plain white fish.

Hake and Shrimp Stew
(serves 2, heartily)

1 T. butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 large leeks, white and light green parts, sliced
2 t. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
½ lb. waxy potatoes, cut in small chunks
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup sharp leafy greens, cut small (I used catalogna)
½ lb. mild white fish, cut in bite-size pieces (I used white hake)
½ lb. raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined
½ cup chopped scallions
1/3 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
salt and pepper to taste

In a skillet big enough to hold everything, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring frequently, until it’s translucent. Add the leeks and thyme, and continue to cook until the leeks soften, 5-10 minutes.

Add the bay leaves, potatoes, and stock. Bring to a boil, cover, and turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are soft, about 15-20 minutes.

Add the greens, fish, shrimp, scallions, and cream. Cook until the fish and shrimp are cooked, about 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

NOTE ON GREENS: Rick Moonen’s recipe calls for watercress, uncooked, with stew ladled over it. I used catalogna, and cooked it with the fish, because I have catalogna. A good substitute would be arugula, but you should add it a minute or two before the stew is finished or it will collapse to nothing. You could use chicory or mizuna, or even chard. Just make sure you add it at the appropriate point – heartier greens earlier, more delicate greens later.