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Mediterranean Seafood Stew

1/4 c Olive oil
2 lg Onions, thinly sliced
6 lg Cloves garlic, crushed or finely minced
1 ts Sweet curry powder, optional
3 Roasted red peppers (the Peloponnese brand is good), pureed in food processor or blender
2 c Flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
3 tb Dried herbs: any combination of basil, oregano, rosemary, savory and marjoram, crushed
1 cn (28-ounce) Italian-style tomatoes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 ts Cayenne pepper
1 Bottle of dry white wine, sauvignon blanc preferred
1/2 ts Saffron threads, crushed and mixed with a little juice from the stew broth, optional
2 Lemons , Juice of
2 lb Cod or other white fish fillets, broken up into chunks
24 Mussels, scrubbed and debearded
18 lg Shrimp, shelled and deveined 3/4 lb Scallops

xx In 6-quart (or larger) casserole, place olive oil and onions and heat over medium-high flame, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until onions are soft. Add crushed garlic, stirring to combine, then curry powder, if using. Cook several minutes, until garlic is well-integrated into onions.

Add red pepper puree, stirring to combine, and cook for 2 minutes. Add parsley, then dried herbs, stirring to mix in well. When parsley has started to soften, add tomatoes, then season to taste with salt and black pepper. Add cayenne pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes.

Add white wine to the pot, stirring it in well. If you wish to use saffron, crush the threads in a mortar and pestle, then add a few tablespoons of the stew broth from the pot to the mortar, smushing the saffron in the liquid. Add to the stew pot. Don't waste that saffron: Add more stew broth to the mortar, if necessary, to use up every last bit of this precious spice. Add the juice from the lemons, and cook, stirring once or twice, for 2 minutes.

Add the fish fillets first, stirring to incorporate in the stew. When fillets have turned from transparent to white, add the mussels, cook for 1 minute until shells start to open, then add the shrimp and the scallops. Cook for no more than 2 to 3 minutes, until shrimp are pink and the scallops just turning white. Serve in large bowls, over linguine if you'd like, but definitely with crusty bread. Serves 6.

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