With winter melting away, many of us are looking for lighter meals that fit with springtime appetites (and pre-summer diets). This is a gorgeous, tasty preparation – introducing your local market’s spring vegetables, as well as adding warm flavors to beat the chill that lingers in the air. It has the low-fat and flavorful benefits of poaching seafood and using the liquid for seasoning. It also incorporates a simple technique called “monter au beurre,” which involves whisking a small amount of butter into the broth at the last minute, producing a classic, satisfying velvety finish.

You will need:

  • olive oil
  • 1 large leek, greens removed, thinly sliced
  • 3-5 garlic cloves, smashed, peeled, and chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 large can fat-free, low sodium chicken broth (or 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth)
  • 3/4 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3/4 pound large sea scallops, cut in half horizontally
  • 2 T chilled butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped plum tomatoes
  • 1 T fresh tarragon, minced
  • 1 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 1/2 t salt
  • lots of freshly cracked black pepper
  • ground chili pepper to taste
1.  Heat the oil over medium in a large, heavy stock pot.  Add the leek and garlic and cook until tender.

2. Add the wine and broth, and bring the mixture to a simmer.  Stir in the shrimp and scallops, and bring quickly to a boil.  Immediately reduce heat, and simmer for around 3 minutes, or until shrimp are done.

3.  Remove the shrimp and scallops from the pot using a slotted spoon, and keep them warm on the side.  Bring the broth mixture to a boil again, and allow to cook for 4 minutes.  Reduce the heat to low, and add the butter, stirring constantly with a wire whisk until the butter is melted and a satiny sheen appears on the surface of the soup.

4.  Stir in the chopped tomatoes and remaining ingredients.  Taste and adjust the seasonings.

5.  Divide the seafood among 4 bowls, and cover with broth.  Serve immediately.

This goes beautifully with light, crusty French bread and a glass of rose; try serving it with a plate of steamed, chilled crudite: fresh asparagus, green beans, spring carrots and broccoli, with a small side of garlic aioli.

Spring Seafood Stew
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