For our Low Summer issue, I visited with artist Dan Rizzie and his wife Susan Lazarus in their North Haven home for an In the Kitchen With feature. Photo editor Lindsay Morris and I had a great time with Dan and Susan; we’ve all known each other for years thanks to Lindsay’s mother-in-law, Bonnie Munshin, without whom I would have never moved to the East End in 1994, when I started at the Honest Diner, which was owned by the Nick & Toni’s group where Bonnie was the manager and Susan worked. Like other places, the East End is a small town, especially within its niches, ours being food and wine. So, we had a lot of fun talking about old times, listening to Dan play the blues/rockabilly guitar and eating his fish stew, whose ingredients change with the seasons. Use whatever’s in the case at the fish market and, Dan stresses, you’ve got to use the fire-roasted canned tomatoes. No substitutions.
Fish and Fire Roasted Tomatoes Stew With Fennel and Garlic
3 cups Seafood Stock or Fish stock (substitute with 2 cups clam broth and 1 cup water)
1 14-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes diced or whole cut into bite sized chunks
4-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1 medium to large fennel bulb, sliced and coarsely chopped
8-10 saffron threads 1 cup white wine
1 cup of fish stock I sometimes use clam juice, which has great flavor but a lot of salt, so be careful
Extra virgin olive oil
12-16 ounces firm white fish, cut into 1-inch cubes, feel free to add local shellfish
Salt and pepper to taste
A small pinch of red pepper flakes
4 slices French bread
1 clove garlic, cut in half
In a medium to large stockpot heat a little olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the fennel until wilted and then add the garlic and sauté a few minutes more. Next add the tomatoes, saffron threads and white wine. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low for a minute or two. Add the fish stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and add the fish. The fish will cook quickly, about five minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. While the stew is simmering heat the oven to 400F. Brush olive oil on both sides of the french bread slices, sprinkle with a little salt and place in the oven to toast. When the bread is toasted, remove from the oven and rub a halved garlic on each toast. Place one toast in each of the four soup bowls. Ladle the stew over the toasts and serve immediately. Bon Appetit!