Neither of us were familiar with Rockfish, but we were curious about it one Saturday when Otolith Sustainable Seafood was selling it at the Rittenhouse Farmers’ Market. We asked about what it is like and the purveyor explained that it was a firm white fish that holds up well to a lot of flavor and suggested it was good for fish stews. I happen to be a big fan of Cioppino and Brodetto, so we decided to try to make a fish stew and I am glad we did because it turned out fantastic.
At the time we bought the Rockfish, we also picked up some shrimp from Otolith and then bought some clams from Di Bruno Bros.
I loosely based our stew on this cioppino recipe from the Food Network. I made some slight variations, but the amounts were pretty much the same as in the recipe. The process is somewhat time consuming but pretty easy.
I began by frying some onions and after they cooked for a while, added garlic and crushed red pepper. After that cooked a bit, I added tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, and wine. We didn’t have any fish stock, so I used a combination of chicken broth and clam juice and it worked just fine. I also did not have a bay leaf and had no substitute. I did add some dried basil and oregano. I let all that simmer for about 1/2 an hour.
At the end of the half hour, I added the clams until they opened and removed them.
I then added the shrimp and Rockfish and cooked them for about 5 minutes until done. I added the clams back in and then served it in bowls with a nice hunk of bread.
I look forward to trying a fish stew again in the near future. I would like to try it with proper fish stock and a bay leaf. I feel lucky that we have access to such great fresh seafood which will make this dish a success even in light of some minor compromises.