Easy seafood stew in lobster cognac broth

Every country has a version of seafood stew for a reason— it’s delicious, it stretches a modest amount of fish into a meal for many, and it’s incredibly easy! I like to use black cod— it’s sustainable and hard to overcook— but really any combo of whitefish and shellfish will do. Don’t pass on the cognac/brandy for this recipe— it adds a wonderful depth of flavor that you don’t get with just white wine.

Serves 2

  • Olive oil
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • ½ fennel bulb
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tbs thyme, minced
  • ¼ cup Brandy or cognac
  • 1 14 oz can san marzano tomatoes
  • 1 tsp calabrian chili paste or chili flakes
  • ¼ cup Brandy or cognac
  • 3 cups lobster, seafood, or fish stock – homemade preferred 
  • Pinch of saffron (optional)
  • ½ llb black cod, cut into chunks
  • 8-10 large prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 1.5 tbs butter
  • ¼ cup parsley, minced
  1. Heat a dutch oven or lidded pan over medium heat, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom. 
  2. Add the shallots and saute for 2-4 minutes, until deep brown. 
  3. Add the garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add fennel and saute for 2 minutes. 
  5. Add herbs and saute 30 seconds. 
  6. Deglaze the pan with brandy, scraping the fond off the bottom of the pan into the sauce. 
  7. Add the tomatoes, chili paste, and seafood stock. Bring to a simmer. Using your spoon, break up the tomatoes as much as you can. Simmer until reduced by ⅓, 15-20 minutes. 
  8. Add the saffron and simmer for another minute or so. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt, pepper, and chili if needed. 
  9. Add the black cod and simmer for 2 minutes. 
  10. Add the shrimp, butter, cover the pan, and simmer on low for 2-5 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through. 
  11. Top with parsley and served with grilled bread.