Beach Day Bloody Marys and Tuscan Style Spicy Cacciucco

Italians don’t say “well cooked”… they say “cooked to the small point” (Cotto a puntino).

For the last day that I pick fresh herbs as I do every day,  the last grabs are now safely stashed  and then again a few in a pot of fresh “sauce” for my ever-changing fish stew…Cacciucco (ca-choo-co)

My Tuscan-style seafood stew changes all the time, basically because I don’t add the same fish , clams and shrimp the standards though.  For this version a nice piece of grouper and a few squid rings jump into the pot and an anchovy or two “beefed up” broth.

For the broth which makes enough for 6 bowls,  Add two tablespoons of EVOO to a big sauté pan, add a few cloves of smashed garlic and 2-3 anchovies (in a pinch, 2 teaspoons fish sauce).   Yes, the anchovies will melt and blend in nicely!  Cook, stirring over med heat for 3-4 minutes breaking up the anchovies a bit…deglaze with 1/4 cup white wine,  2-3 cups shrimp stock/clam stock, crushed (28 ounces)  San Marzano) tomatoes ( or good tomato sauce), and finally 1/2 pod of Knorr condensed vegetable stock.    Season with 1/2 teaspoon each, oregano, herbs de Provence or marjoram, seafood seasoning, 1 bay leaf, S&P to taste and a grate of lemon zest.  Simmer for 25-35 minutes, breaking up tomatoes.   You can always thin the broth with more clam or vegetable broth.  Each fish ingredient will have a different cooking time.  I cooked the clams first and removed to a bowl, add the fish next, then the shrimp and finally the squid that takes a minute to cook.  Toss the clams back in to warm.

3-4 large shrimp per person
4-5 clams per person, scrubbed clean and soaked in ice-cold water for 30 minutes
1/4 pound fish chunks per person
5-6 squid rings per person
*optional ingredients, scallops, mussels,  or any other favorite seafood…

Place two croutons in each bowl and ladle stew over, garnish with chopped parsley and a little drizzle of good EVOO.  We always have extra bread to pass.
iPhotoCroutons pan toasted in EVOO, 1 pepper and 2 garlic cloves, save pan to cook clams etc.
I’d love to take full credit for the fabulous Bloody Mary recipe for my beach Bloody Marys, but I can only say that I have severely adapted a recipe from Garden & Gun (link below) and will be making them  time and again.

DDD required!
My additions and changes:

1/4 quarter of a lemon
several fresh okra
Phillips seafood seasoning
Pickled vegetables from Garden style dill pickles
a few pickled cherry peppers
pimento stuffed big olives
Italian style pitted green olives (love the ones in red chilies)
28 ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes whizzed with a stick blender

Tito’s Vodka
Marinate overnight, chill vodka, stash in cooler full of ice for the trip to the beach