SEAFOOD ORZO

This colorful one-pot dish is very impressive and tastes amazing. The great thing is you can swap the fish and seafood you use to suit your preferences and what’s available.

Makes 8 servings:

2 Tbs – extra virgin olive oil

½ – red onion, chopped

2 – cloves garlic, minced

½ – fennel bulb, cored and chopped

3 Tbs – tomato paste

½ cup – dry vermouth

½ tsp – saffron

1 lb – orzo

2 cups – clam juice

1 cup – chicken stock, low sodium

12 – mussels

½lb – medium shrimp, deveined

½ lb – squid cut into rings

1 lb – cockles or small clams

½ lb – cod or halibut cut into chunks

½ lb – bay scallops

Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

Fresh chopped parsley for serving

½ cup fresh peas for serving

One lemon cut into wedges for serving

(for a special treat add the meat from two small lobster tails)

Preheat broiler with a rack 8” from the heat.

Heat oil in a large ovenproof sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, fennel and sauté, stirring occasionally until lightly browned—about 3-4 minutes. Add the tomato paste, season with salt and pepper, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the vermouth and saffron and cook for one minute more.

Add clam juice, orzo and chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Stir in the mussels and clams stirring frequently until almost all the liquid is absorbed and the orzo is cooked al dente—about 9-10 minutes. Season the remaining fish and seafood, add to the pan, nestling into the orzo. Put the pan under the broiler and broil until all the fish and seafood is cooked through, about 5-6 minutes. Remove and let stand for 3-4 minutes and top with fresh chopped parsley, peas, lemon wedges, and serve.

Sue Taggart

As a child growing up in Kent “The Garden of England”, I thought that every family grew their own vegetables. I would help my grandfather in the garden and loved pulling potatoes and carrots out of the soil. These early experiences have given me a great appreciation for where our food comes from and a discerning palette for fresh, seasonal produce. As an avid reader, writing and storytelling is a passion that has only deepened over the years together with a growing concern for the health of our oceans and planet. We are facing serious issues with climate change and the clock is ticking…so it’s up to all of us to nurture and protect our home planet.