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While Sitelle was off adventuring in Belize last week, I spent a lovely time visiting family and friends in Ontario.  On the last evening with my parents, we decided to make saffron seafood bisque for supper.  As we sat down to our steaming servings, my father reminisced about the first time he tried this dish – during my parents first Christmas together.  Over 20 years later, it continues to be one of our family’s favourites.  The delicate flavours of the seafood are beautifully complemented by the saffron and held together by a creamy sauce infused with fresh vegetables and dill.

This dish is elegant enough that it can be served as the star of a New Year’s Day dinner, yet simple enough that it can be cooked on your average weeknight. The original dish is found in a 1987 December Gourmet magazine, and calls for a homemade fish stock made from shrimp peels and fish bones.  Over the years my family has significantly simplified the bisque, while preserving its essence.   And without fail, every last drop of this saffron seafood bisque is savoured.

 

Saffron Seafood Bisque

(6 servings)

 

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of butter, divided

1 onion, sliced in rings

1 clove of garlic, minced

2 ribs of celery, finely chopped

1 red pepper, slivered

8 mushrooms, sliced

1 zucchini, sliced

1 pound of shrimp (about 30*)

1.5 pounds of scallops

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup milk

Salt and pepper to taste

Large splash of white wine

Generous pinch of saffron

¼ cup of dill, finely chopped

 

Directions:

Over medium heat in a large frying pan, sauté the onions, celery, and garlic in 1 teaspoon butter.  When fragrant, add the remaining veggies and cook until softened. Transfer veggies and juice to a bowl and cover to keep warm.

Melt the other teaspoon of butter, and sauté the shrimps until pink and the scallops until no longer translucent.   Transfer seafood and juice to the bowl with veggies.

Create a roux with the remaining butter and flour, allowing it to bubble until nutty.  Whisk in the broth and milk, before adding the wine, salt and pepper, and saffron.  Stir in any juices from the seafood and vegetables.  Bring sauce to a boil and allow to thicken for 3 or 4 minutes.  Incorporate the seafood, vegetables, and most of the dill stirring gently.

Garnish with the remaining dill. Delicious served over a creamy risotto or a bed of quinoa!

 

–       Catherine

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