California Fish Stew


Makes 10 to 12 servings


1 quart mussels* (in shells)
3 cups Zinfandel or other dry red wine, divided
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (32 ounces) Italian plum tomatoes, undrained
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 pounds striped bass or other firm fish fillets, cut into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
1 pound crabmeat, picked over to remove any shell
1 pound medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

*Discard mussels that stay open when tapped with your fingers. To clean mussels, scrub with stiff brush under cold running water. To debeard, with fingers, pull threads from shells. Soak mussels in 1 gallon water with 1/3 cup salt 20 minutes. Drain water; repeat twice.


  1. Steam mussels in 1 cup wine until open. (Discard any unopened shells.) Strain mussel liquid through cheesecloth; reserve. Leave mussels in their shells.
  2. Heat oil in 8-quart pot. Add mushrooms, bell pepper, onion and garlic; cook and stir 3 minutes. Add tomatoes with juice; cook 4 minutes. Stir in strained mussel liquid, tomato paste and remaining 2 cups wine. Add salt and pepper; simmer 20 minutes. Add fish and basil; cook 5 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with fork. Add mussels in their shells, crabmeat and shrimp. Heat until shrimp turn pink. Sprinkle with parsley; serve.

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