This Is The Most Important Ingredient In Seafood Stew

As the weather gets colder, a hearty stew becomes more and more enticing. A nice bowl of good seafood stew, in particular, is an excellent, body-warming, and delicious comfort food. Of course, eating stew might be wonderfully relaxing, but actually making the stew can easily add to your stress. Though stews are a comparatively simple "add ingredients, let it all simmer" kind of food by design, the jump from a decent stew to a good one can be difficult to achieve – let alone the leap between a good and an excellent stew. 

Fortunately, those in the know have all sorts of simple hacks to give your favorite stew that extra oomph. In fact, the difference between a good and a superb seafood stew can come down to one very specific thing – and today, we'll take a look at it. Let's peek behind the veil and uncover the most important ingredient in seafood stew.   

It all comes down to the stock

As Chef Mark Sullivan of Spruce revealed to Food & Wine, it's all about the stock. If you want to elevate your seafood stew to greatness, the be-all and end-all in the recipe should be a great fish stock, and to maximize the taste, it should be homemade. As such, Sullivan recommends that you head to the fishmonger for some delicious master fish stock ingredients. The most essential things to grab at the seafood market are some fresh heads and bones of white, non-oily fish. Sullivan combines them with mussels and littleneck clams, along with aromatics like garlic, fennel, and celery, as well as some onion, dry white wine, chicken stock, and spices. The end result is a delicious, slowly simmered broth, and after straining and refrigerating it, you'll have a wonderful and versatile base to build on. 

Chef Sullivan also gives a handful of Mediterranean-area recipes, which are vastly different from each other, yet all use the same, tasty stock. Apart from the stock's versatility, Sullivan also reminds the reader of the "Mediterranean way," which means that whatever fish you intend to use for the recipes can – and should – always be replaced by the freshest thing you can find at the market. Bon Appetit!