The inspiration for this shrimp stew comes from the classic Bouillabaisse, a traditional Provençal fish stew originating from the port city of Marseille. It is worth noting that bouillabaisse is traditionally a humble Mediterranean fisherman’s stew. The fennel, olive oil, fish and shellfish are local.
I use ony shrimps in my recipe, and do not serve it as a soup, but rather as a main dish, that can easily be accompanied by some rice, pasta or couscous if you’d like.
- 700 gr medium shrimp (with the head) or replace some with langoustines of gambas
- 2 fennel bulbs
- 8 ripe tomatoes (or replace 2 tomatoes with cherry tomatoes)
- 1 red onion
- 1 red chili pepper
- 1 Leek, white part only, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 150 g of fresh baby spinach
- Handful of sea fennel
- 1 yellow pepper
- 1 red pepper
- 100ml concentrated fish stock (I reduced 200 ml of fish stock until about half remained, for a concentrated flavor)
- 1 tsp Fresh Thyme
- 1 tsp Fresh Marjoram
- ½ tsp Saffron Threads
- ½ tsp chili flakes
- 1 tsp fennel seed
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Himalayan salt
- Olive oil
- Finely chop the onion, garlic and chili pepper.
- Chop the tomatoes into coarse pieces.
- Cut both peppers into fine strips and the leek in small rings.
- Cut the fennel into cubes.
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a heavy bottomed pan. Add onion, garlic and chilli pepper, along with the fennel seed and sauté over medium heat until tender and fragrant.
- Add the leeks, fennel and pepper strips and and slowly sweat them until tender but not browned (about 20 minutes).
- Add the tomatoes, the leaves of the sea fennel,the thyme, marjoram, saffron, and chili flakes and the fish fond. Turn up the heat until the fond begins to boil. Cook until the liquids are reduced by about half.
- Add the shrimps and let them cook for five minutes, until they are done.
- Now stir in baby spinach until it has shrunk.
- If the moisture is not completely evaporated, you can possibly thicken the sauce a bit. I used some homemade dried tomato powder, which intensifies the taste and does not add extra carbohydrates. Of course you can also use corn starch or another binding agent.
- Season with salt and pepper and if desired some extra chili flakes.
- Finish the dish with some fennel green, flat parsley and possibly some sea spaghetti.