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Seafood Stew (Cacciucco)

Considered to be one of the glories of Tuscan cooking, this spicy fish stew is the speciality of the port of Livorno, or Leghorn, near Florence. To be really authentic–and sensible !–serve it in soup bowls; although it is technically a 'stew' it resembles the great, thick fish soups, such as Bouillabaisse, of the Mediterranean.

ingredients

serves 4
125 ml (4 fl oz) 1/2 cup Olive oil
2 Garlic cloves, chopped
1 Red chilli, chopped and seeds removed
225 g (8 oz) Shelled shrimps
225 g (8 oz) Squid, skinned, cleaned and chopped
125 ml (4 fl oz) 1/2 cup Dry white wine
3 Tbs Tomato puree (paste)
450 ml (15 fl oz) 2 cups Water
1/2 tsp Salt
225 g (8 oz) Cod fillet, cut into pieces
225 g (8 oz) Haddock, cut into pieces
4 slices Italian or French bread, toasted
1 Garlic clove, halved
2 Tbs Chopped pimiento

method

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or flameproof casserole. Add the chopped garlic and chilli and fry until the garlic is lightly browned.

2. Stir in the shrimps and squid, reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Pour in the wine and simmer, uncovered, for a further 15 minutes.

4. Stir in the tomato puree (paste), water and salt, and bring to the boil.

5. Stir in the cod and haddock pieces, cover, reduce the heat to low again and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily.

6. Meanwhile, rub the toasted bread slices with the garlic halves, then arrange a slice on the bottom of four individual bowls. Pour over the hot stew, sprinkle with the pimiento and serve at once.

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