This is a relatively simple recipe, that is a delicious way to prepare seafood. I created the recipe in Florida where I have access to amazing fresh gulf shrimp. The key to this flavorful broth is the homemade stock. I usually make extra stock and freeze it for future use in a fish chowder or lobster dish. It holds very well for several months. It is the base of flavor that provides the building block for any seafood dish. Serve this with a delicious slice of high quality bread that can handle a big smear of the aioli. The dish is very light and the aioli adds just a hint of citrus and cream to balance it all out. I like to sear the shrimp before adding it to the stew, but if you can always add the shrimp at the last minute and steam it in the stew.

This stew is reminiscent of a dish from southern France but the flavors of Greece with the addition of ouzo and fennel which adds a hint of anise that pairs so well with seafood

Serves 3-4


for stock:

  • 1/2 pound shrimp, whole
  • 1 onion quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 handful parsley
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons whole peppercorns

for garlic lemon aioli:

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt, pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

for stew:

  • 1 1/2 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, cored and finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup ouzo
  • About 2 -3 cups of prepared stock
  • 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes and juices
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Chopped parsley for garnish
  • Fresh diced tomato for garnish
  • 1 dozen pitted olives, castelvetrano olives
  • Toasted sourdough, for serving


for stock:

In a medium saucepan, place all ingredients for stock and 6 cups of water and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 30-40 minutes. When cool enough to handle, strain the stock through a colander discarding the shrimp and vegetables. Set strained stock aside

for aioli:

Mash the garlic with a pinch of salt and whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, parsley, garlic powder paprika and paprika. Set aside.

for stew:

In a large heavy bottom deep skillet or Dutch oven, melt the butter and olive oil in the pan. Add the fennel, onion and garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the ouzo and cook until nearly evaporated, an additional several minutes. Add 2 cups of stock, tomatoes, saffron and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper and simmer until the sauce is reduced by half, about 10 more minutes, adding a bit more stock if sauce thickens to much.

In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil to medium high. Pat shrimp dry with paper towel and toss shrimp with Old Bay Seasoning and a tablespoon of flour to absorb any excess moisture. Sear shrimp for about 4 minutes/side until cooked through. Toss in simmering broth and ladle the stew into wide-rimmed bowls. Garnish with fresh tomato, olives and parsley and serve with toasted bread smeared with aioli. Enjoy!