Seafood appeals to so many foodies because there are so many different kinds of it to try. On any given night, you might have a hankering for shrimp or maybe scallops or even a tender piece of octopus. However, by making a hearty seafood stew, you don’t have to choose; you can have all three at once along with your daily recommended dose of heart-healthy vegetables.
Chopping up both fish and veggies into pieces as you make the stew allows you to unlock the flavors hidden within each individual ingredient, while preparing them all together creates a unique and complementary medley that’s greater than the sum of its parts. The combination of spices and seasonings gives the dish a complex feel, blending salty, spicy, zesty and just a hint of sweet (from the mintiness in the thyme and perhaps the white wine). To be sure, the S.O.S. part of the recipe isn’t just an acronym for the fish, but also an allusion to the final dish’s spicy kick. That said, things like black pepper, fresh garlic and Chesapeake Bay seasoning can always be increased or decreased depending on your own personal tastes.
While this isn’t a quick slapdash meal, the longer prep and cook time is well worth it, not only for the stew’s mouthwatering taste, but also for the health benefits that these three sea creatures have long been known to provide. Both shrimp and scallops are low in saturated fats and boast ample amounts of omega-3’s, magnesium, B12 and other nutrients. And octopus is a low cal, low fat way to get your B6, potassium and zinc, not to mention a healthy dose of protein. Bottom line, not only will your mouth thank you for this dish, but so will your heart, brain and bones.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
- ½ lb of jumbo sea scallops
- ½ lb of jumbo shrimp
- ½ lb of octopus arm(s)
- 2 whole carrots, unpeeled
- 3 celery stalks
- 3 cloves of fresh garlic
- 1 cup of chopped red onion
- 6 mini gourmet potatoes (mixed gold, red and purple)
- ½ cup of white wine
- 2 tbsp of fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup of extra light olive oil
- 2 cups of water
- 1½ tbsp of pink Himalayan salt
- 1 tbsp of black pepper
- 2 tsp of Chesapeake Bay or Old Bay seasoning
- 1 tsp of ground thyme
- Saltine crackers (optional)
- Rinse and chop all the vegetables
- Rinse and chop all the seafood
- Add oil to large pot and warm over medium heat
- Saute the carrots, celery, onion and potatoes
- Crush and saute the garlic with the other vegetables
- Add water, wine and lemon juice over high heat
- Add scallops, octopus and shrimp
- Reduce heat and add spices
- Cover with lid and cook on low heat
- Serve while hot
STEP 1: RINSE AND CHOP THE VEGETABLES
Rinse 2 carrots, 3 stalks of celery and 6 mini gourmet potatoes (various colors) under cold running water. Leave the carrots unpeeled. Chop the carrots, celery and potatoes into small pieces. Also, chop 1 cup of red onion and peel 3 cloves of garlic off a fresh bulb.
STEP 2: RINSE AND CHOP THE SEAFOOD
Rinse off a half pound of jumbo sea scallops, a half pound of jumbo shrimp and a half pound of octopus arm(s) under cold running water. Peel the shells off the shrimp. Cut the octopus arm(s) into small pieces. Cut shrimp and scallops into fours.
STEP 3: ADD OIL TO LARGE POT
Add a quarter cup of extra light olive oil to a large cooking pot and warm over medium heat for 2 minutes. (Extra light olive oil is preferable to its extra virgin cousin because long cooking times tend to burn away the flavor of the latter.)
STEP 4: SAUTE THE VEGETABLES
Add the chopped carrots, celery, onion and potatoes to the cooking pot. Saute at medium heat for about 15 minutes (or until lighter vegetables start to brown). Stir the vegetables regularly.
STEP 5: ADD THE GARLIC
Crush the three cloves of garlic by placing the flat side of your cooking knife against them and pressing down with your hand. Be careful not to touch the sharp side of the blade. Add the crushed cloves to the vegetable medley in the pot and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
STEP 6: ADD WATER, WINE AND LEMON JUICE
Add 2 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, and a half cup of white wine (I personally like a drier pinot grigio, but a well-aged Gewürztraminer or Fumé Blanc could also work well). Turn up the heat to high and bring to a boil.
STEP 7: ADD SCALLOPS, OCTOPUS AND SHRIMP
Add scallops, octopus and shrimp to boiling water. Cook uncovered on high heat for about 5 minutes while stirring with a wooden spoon.
STEP 8: ADD SPICES
Reduce the heat to low. Stir in 1 and a half tablespoons of pink Himalayan salt, 1 tablespoon of black pepper, 2 teaspoons of Chesapeake Bay (or Old Bay) seasoning, and 1 teaspoon of ground thyme.
STEP 9: COVER WITH LID AND COOK
Cover the pot with a lid and continue to cook on low heat for 1 hour. Stir the stew with a wooden spoon every 5 to 10 minutes to ensure a generous blending of all ingredients.
STEP 10: SERVE WHILE HOT
Ladle out three scoops per serving of fish, vegetables and broth into a deep plate or bowl and serve while hot. Optional: enjoy with a side of Saltine crackers.
You can serve the stew on a plate by itself or you can have it over a bed of pasta or white rice. It’s great as an everyday dinner entree or for a holiday meal like Christmas Eve (a time when Catholics are known for their fish dinners). Also, it naturally pairs well with a glass of the same white wine you used in the recipe; as such, you should feel encouraged to experiment with your favorite varietals in order to achieve the subtle variances in flavor that appeal to you most.
If you really want to get adventurous, try substituting different types of seafood next time around. For example, calamari fans may opt to replace the octopus with squid if they prefer a smoother yet tougher consistency. The recipe can also be made using a third cup of tomato paste for those who want more of an Italian flair. And if you’re ever crunched for time, a few cans of mixed vegetables work in a pinch. Just pour them into the pot along with the juice, bring to a boil and then add your seafood and spices!