I have recently started a new job; and I have been putting in a lot of long, hard hours. I am so fortunate that I have been coming home night after night to a home cooked meal. Brian has been serving me something great every evening. I was basting in his hospitality, but beginning to feel as though I owed him big time. It was time to make Brian something special for dinner. Our life here thus far has been fun, exciting, and has been leaving us much to be thankful for. I thought it was only right to honor the Pacific Northwest – let alone our neighborhood with a dish that says “Ballard, Seattle”.
You see, Ballard is an old Scandinavian neighborhood that sits along the Salmon Bay. There are tons of ships (many of them fishing boats) that are docked here. You can walk along the locks and see the ship sailing on through. Many of them off to bring back bountiful varieties of fish and shell fish. They are beautiful to watch, and my imagination always wonders as to what their lives might be like and how hard they work to bring back these abundant bushels full of fruit from the sea.
Being I had the day off Brian and I took a trip over to the Fisherman’s Warf on the other side of the bay. We walked along the pier and took in all the ships that were docked. It is so impressive to see how big these ships really are when you are up close to them. Many of them are tattered, and some look a bit more worn then others; but my were they beautiful. We then walked over to the Wild Salmon (Fish Market) to get few pieces from these bountiful so that I could create a dinner for Brian that I hoped he would love.
My dinner creation result was a Fish Stew. Did Brian enjoy it? I think going back for a second bowl as big as his first was my answer! And he says he cannot wait to eat the left overs for lunch tomorrow.
Ballard Fish Stew (serves 4 - 6)
1 large Onion, chopped small
1 Carrot, chopped
2 Celery Stalks, chopped
1 small Fennel Bulb, chopped
2 cloves of Garlic, chopped
3 tbsp of Olive Oil
2 – 3 sprigs of Thyme
½ tsp of Crushed Red Pepper
1 28 oz can of Chopped Tomatoes
1 cup of White Wine
1 pint of Fish Stock
2 lbs of Salmon Filet, cubed
12 – 18 Shrimp
12 – 18 Clams
Sea Salt and Black Pepper to taste
Fresh Thyme to garnish
First, place a large six to eight quart pot over high heat. When pot is warm; pour in your olive oil and coat the bottom of the pot. Then toss in your onion, celery, carrot, and fennel. Sauté about five minutes and add in the garlic, Thyme sprigs, and crushed red pepper. Simmer together until your garlic is fragrant. Add in your tomatoes, stock and wine and bring to a simmer.
Next, once your pot is simmering nicely add in your cubed salmon and stir well. Season with a bit of sea salt and black pepper. Be sure your pot continues to simmer keeping an eye on it, and stirring it occasionally. You do not want your stew to stick. You are looking for your salmon cubes to be cooked through.
Finally, toss in your shrimp and clams and stir well. Keep a close eye on your pot, because you are looking at this point for two things. One is to see that your shrimp cooks through, and two is that all your clams open up. (When your clams are open your stew is ready, if there is one that does not open do not serve it…it is probably no good)
Serving: Serve warm and with either a sliced baguette that has been brushed with olive oil and toasted; or some long grain rice to pour your stew over. Garnish with fresh Thyme, sea salt, and black pepper.