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Dining Tip: Michael Mina's Seafood Tagine

A star chef's hearty, flavorful seafood stew pairs well with a medium-bodied red

Posted: July 1, 2013

• 8 Roma (or plum) tomatoes
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1 cup white pearl onions, peeled
• 2 cups orange juice, strained
• 8 heads baby fennel, cut in half
• 1/2 cup plus a few tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 8 black mussels, cleaned
• 8 Manila (or small littleneck) clams, cleaned
• 1/2 pound squid, cleaned and cut into 1/2-inch rings
• 8 jumbo prawns, peeled and de-veined, head on
• 8 scallops, cleaned
• 2 small cooked and sliced linguica (or spicy pork) sausages, about 8 ounces
• 12 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thin
• 8 whole pieces star anise
• 2 cups fennel oil (recipe follows)
• 1 cup fish fumet or stock
• 9 ounces fettuccine, fresh if possible

Note: Soak a tagine in cold water for at least 1 hour before use. Always hand-wash it after use. If you do not have a tagine available you can substitute a casserole dish with a lid.

1. Up to a day ahead, prepare the tomatoes, onions and fennel as follows: Halve the tomatoes lengthwise. Toss them with salt and pepper. Arrange them on a sheet pan and roast them in a 200° F oven for 5 hours, or until the tomatoes begin to shrivel.

2. Simmer the pearl onions in the strained orange juice in a large sauté pan until the onions are just tender. This will take about 8 to 10 minutes. Strain off remaining orange juice and reserve 1 cup.

3. In the large sauté pan, over medium heat, sauté the baby fennel in 2 tablespoons of oil until tender, about 20 minutes, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper.

4.About a half an hour before serving, preheat the oven to 300° F and bring a pot of water to a boil for the fettuccine.

5. Fill the bottom of the tagine with all of the seafood, semidried tomatoes, pearl onions, fennel, linguicas, sliced garlic, and star anise. Add the 2 cups of fennel oil (yes, it's a lot of oil but it will later be drained off), the reserved cup of strained orange juice and the fish fumet. Bring the mixture to a boil on top of the stove, then cover the tagine and place it in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the seafood is cooked. The clams and mussels should have opened and the shrimp should be pink in color.

6. While the tagine is baking, cook the fettucine in the boiling water according to the package directions. Toss it with a few tablespoons of olive oil when done. Keep it warm.

7. Strain all of the cooking liquid from the tagine into a large bowl. Skim off as much of the oil as possible from the cooking liquid using a fat separator or ladle, or use a bulb baster to draw the liquid from below the oil.

8. To serve, divide the pasta evenly among four large bowls. Transfer some of the drained shellfish and garnish, dividing them evenly among all of the dishes. Moisten the seafood and pasta liberally with the cooking liquid and serve. Bring the remaining mixture to the table in the tagine for seconds. Serves 4.

Fennel Oil:
• 8 fennel bulbs, sliced
• 2 cups extra virgin olive oil
• 1/4 cup fennel seed, toasted

Place all of the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed pot and cook over low heat for 3 hours. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and reserve for later. Discard the fennel. Makes 2 cups.

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