by Sean Rembold, Executive Chef of Marlow & Sons and Diner
This Cacciucco holds personal value to me as it was one of the first dishes I put on the menu at Marlow and Sons back in 2005. We often run it around the holidays and it was also a special on New Year’s Eve 2006, the evening I met my wife, Caron. All of the flavors are classic, what’s better than spicy tomato sauce and garlicky toast? Spicy tomato sauce with shellfish and garlicky toast.
Ingredients (Feeds about 4)
- We like to use tilefish or striped bass (about 12 ounces, cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks, free of skin and bones)
- about 20 littleneck clams or cockles
- about 20 mussels
- 1 or 2 shrimp per person (depending on size of shrimp and size of person, peeled and deveined)
- 1/4 pound fresh squid cut into thin rounds.
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced garlic
- sliced Italian parsley
- rustic bread, sliced
- whole garlic clove
- white fish bones – 1 to 2 lbs
- 2 cans New Jersey tomatoes (about 24 ounces total)
- 12 cloves of garlic
- 1 carrot sliced thinly
- 1 leek sliced thinly and rinsed
- 1 large onion diced
- bouquet of thyme
- 1/2 cup white wine
- decent pinch of crushed red pepper
- sea salt
1. Rinse fish bones well removing as much blood as possible as well as the gills and eyes. Cover in a pot with 6 cups cold water and simmer over low heat for an hour or two. Include shrimp shells if you wish.
2. In a separate pot, sweat garlic, carrot, leek, and onion in extra virgin olive oil over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Once mirepoix (the garlic, carrot, leek and onion) begins to soften, add a pinch of crushed red pepper and the bouquet of thyme. Add the white wine to deglaze, allowing it to come to a boil.
4. Once the broth begins to boil, add the crushed tomatoes.
5. Check seasoning and simmer for about two hours.
6. Once raw tomato acidity has diminished, remove thyme and add a bit of the fish fume (broth) – about 24-30 ounces (between 3 and 3.75 cups). Reserve tomato sauce.
7. In a large pan or skillet, toast remaining garlic in olive oil allowing to brown.
8. Add clams and a few ladles of tomato sauce to the pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
9. The process of cooking the seafood in the sauce should take just around five minutes. Add seafood in intervals based on the amount of time they need to cook:
- Add the chunks of fish first , and cover
- Two minutes later, add shrimp and cover
- One minute later add mussels and cover
- One minute after that add squid and cover
- Simmer up to one minute – no more, to avoid over-cooking the squid
Remove from heat once clams and mussels have opened and fish is just cooked, taste for seasoning and adjust so as to have a nice little kick with the crushed red pepper.
10. Finish with parsley and a squeeze of lemon if so desired. Serve in a bowl with a thick slice of toasted rustic bread drizzled with more olive oil and rubbed with a sliced clove of raw garlic.
Marlow & Sons is located at 81 Broadway in Williamsburg. They’re hosting a special New Year’s Eve dinner from 5 to 11pm, followed by a party until 3am. Call 718.384.1441 for more info.