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How To Make Seafood Stew At Home with Award-Winning Chef Frank McClelland [Video]

The chef/owner of FRANK in Beverly shares his recipe for delicious seafood stew.

This winter we visit acclaimed chef Frank McClelland at home learn how he makes his incredible Sardinian fish stew with a New England twist. McClelland closed Boston’s famed L’Espalier after four decades in 2018 and headed north to Beverly to open FRANK, an eatery focused on casual New England cuisine but with McClelland’s stamp of excellence on each dish.

As Mclelland walks us through the ingredients and steps to this bouillabaisse masterpiece, he offers tips and tricks to help perfect your cooking technique. This heavenly stew, which is also on the menu at FRANK, is the perfect winter dish made with local seafood. 

Sardinian Fish Stew: A New England Update

Lobster broth: 

2 lobster bodies chopped

½ lb. shrimp shells 

1 leek (white part only)

1 head fennel 

2 celery stalks 

1/3 cup garlic 

1 Tbs. capers 

3 each Calabrian chilis 

1 tsp. chili flake 

1 tsp. fennel seeds 

1 each star anise 

1 Tbs. black pepper 

1 Tbs. coriander 

1 tsp. juniper berries 

2 fresh bay leaves 

5 sprigs thyme 

5 sprigs rosemary 

1 cup tomato paste 

2 cups sherry or ruby port wine 

1 orange halved  

2 qts. fish stock 

For the shellfish broth: 

In a large heavy bottom pot, cook your lobster bodies and shrimp shells in a bit of oil until they turn bright red and are fragrant. Remove from the pot and wipe clean. Add more oil and “sweat” leeks, fennel, and celery until translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant; about 3 minutes. Add spices, herbs, capers, and chilis and continue to cook until fragrant. Add tomato paste and cook until it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan and darkens slightly. Deglaze with madeira wine and add the lobster and shrimp shells back into the pot, with fumet and orange. Simmer on low for 45 minutes to an hour. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Take care not to cook the lobster bodies for more than the recommended time as they can cause the broth to become bitter. 

Fennel Piperade:

2 onions thinly sliced 

1 head fennel thinly sliced 

5 red bell peppers, charred peeled, and sliced thin  

2 oranges zested and juiced 

8 cloves garlic thinly sliced 

Large pinch of saffron 

3 T espellette pepper 

2/3 cup olive oil 

Salt to taste 

For the fennel piperade:

Roast bell peppers by charring all sides over a gas burner or a grill until charred on all sides, place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to steam the peppers and make them easier to peel. While peppers are steaming cook fennel, onion, and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add in your peppers, saffron, espellette, orange and salt and cook on low for 10 minutes until fragrant and flavors are combined.  

2 whole lobsters boiled for 7 min and de shelled 

One pound hake cut into small pieces 

Half a pound of squid tubes cut into rings.  

One pound of mussels 

One pound of prawns or shrimp peeled and deveined with shells saved if using prawns

Fregola sarda precooked  

Add piperade and broth together and bring to a simmer, add hake and shrimp first and cook for 2 min or almost fully done. Add mussels and cook until they open, add in squid and lobster and cook until just warm. Squid and lobster will get tough if it is cooked too long, the goal is to just warm them.