This is a simplified version of the classic Italian seafood stew. The vegetable base can be made ahead of time and frozen. When ready to serve, simply thaw and stir in the fish, crab, shrimp, and clams to finish cooking.
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 Teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 bulb fennel, trimmed, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
- One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, with their liquid
- 2 Cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 1/2 Cup white wine
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 Tablespoon chopped oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 Tablespoon chopped thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 demi-baguette, cut crosswise into thin slices
- 1 Pound thick skinless white fish fillets, such as cod, cut into (1-inch) pieces
- One 8-ounce tub lump crabmeat
- 1 Pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 Pound mussels or clams, cleaned
- 2 Tablespoons chopped basil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, onions, fennel, and bell peppers and cook until softened and onions and fennel are translucent. Stir in tomatoes with their liquid, broth, wine, tomato paste, oregano, and thyme and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, brush baguette slices all over with oil then arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake, flipping halfway through, until toasted and golden, 8 to 10 minutes; set crostini aside.
Stir fish and crab into pot with broth mixture and simmer for 5 minutes. Add shrimp and mussels, cover, and simmer until shrimp are just cooked through and mussels have opened, about 5 minutes more. (Discard any unopened mussels.)
Stir in basil, salt, and pepper then ladle into bowls and serve with crostini on the side.