This stew was utterly spectacular.

As someone who is afeared of crustaceans, when this recipe was allocated to me by my Goddaughter Ringo, I had a mild freakout.  My best buddy Cathy and I had made a vow to cook every recipe in the Stanley Tucci food memoir,

and Ringo was dishing them out.  We are getting there slowly but surely, and there is a draft post somewhere about when we made his mighty Timpano…

But that is for another day. This post is all about da stew.  One of the joys of living by the seaside here in Hastings is the abundance of fresh fish and seafood. I love the fact I can phone through an order to the coast and pick it up the next day.

That’s me and Cathy, off to pick up our haul of fishy bits. The fishermen’s huts in Hastings are at the intriguingly named area of Rock-a-Nore, just to the left of Winkle Island…

I am determined that now I live amongst the sea creatures, I will learn more about how to cook them.  As Cathy is a genius at cooking, she taught me a lot of things as we were making this stew together.  The best of which was her tip about dipping your fingers in salt before you start to skin fish. I misunderstood when she said that you should put the salt on your chopping board, thinking that she meant that this would stop it slipping around as you worked on the fish, but no.  You put it on the board in a little pile then dip your fingers in it to help you grip the fish.  Doing it this way prevents you putting your fishy fingers in the salt pot.

Cathy also showed me how to tap the clams and mussels against the edge of a bowl if the shells were open.  If they closed up, they were good to go in the stew, but if they stayed open, in the bin they went.  I am sure this is a useful tip to many people but as I have absolutely no intention of cooking mussels or clams ever again, it’s of no real use to me – hahahaha.

I ate one clam and one mussel.  The rest I lobbed into the dish of Mr Rathbone who was sitting beside me.  He LOVES those weird old crustacean and mollusc fishy things.  My dinner guests Katy, David and Matthew scoffed everything, so I will say that for 5/6th of us, this was a big hit.

Feel the fear and do it anyway!

I was very pleased with my table of nibbly bits for scoffing while we put the last minute touches to the soup.  Includes GREEN Salmon Pate to a William Conrad recipe.

For copyright reasons, I can’t put the recipe in this post, but my friends, if you like fishy bits and bobs in a stew, you will probably love it.  It’s a spectacular dish, and what is more, you can watch this video of Stanley being his usual gorgeous self demonstrating how to make it.

Of course, I only found this video after making the stew but now I know from the video thumbnails: YOU SERVE IT WITH SPAGHETTI!

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