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Recipe for New England bouillabaisse

Food styling/Sheryl Julian; Michele McDonald for The Boston Globe

Serves 4 with leftovers

2tablespoons boiling water
½teaspoon saffron crushed in a bowl with ½ teaspoon sugar
2tablespoons olive oil
1large sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
1large bulb fresh fennel, trimmed, halved, and sliced
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, crushed in a bowl
1teaspoon crushed red pepper
Grated rind of 1 navel orange
4cups clam juice
cups water
2pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
2pounds skinless, boneless fish such as cod, haddock, hake, monkfish
2pounds shrimp, peeled
2tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1. Pour the water into the saffron and set aside for 10 minutes.

2. In a soup pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, fennel, salt, and black pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes.

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3. Add the tomatoes, red pepper, orange rind, clam juice, 2 cups water, and saffron liquid. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered, stirring often, for 15 minutes.

4. In another large pot, combine the mussels and remaining ½ cup water. Steam over high heat for 5 minutes, shaking the pan, until the mussels open. Discard any that do not. Remove mussels from the pan. Strain the liquid through cheesecloth.

5. Add the fish and shrimp to the tomato broth. Cover and cook for 3 minutes or until they are not quite opaque. Add the mussels and broth. Return the mixture to a boil. Cover and simmer for 3 minutes, ladling boiling broth over the mussels several times. Remove 2 cups broth and 2 cups fish and mussels for the pasta; refrigerate.

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6. Sprinkle the remaining mixture with basil. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with crusty bread. Sheryl Julian

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