This version of a bouillabaisse-styled main dish is teeming with fresh clams and Chesapeake crab in a saffron-tinted broth. The side serving of Rouille, a classic French accompaniment to fish stews, is mayonnaise-like in texture and made from garlic, chilies and olive oil. Pass around plenty of hot, crusty bread for dipping in the broth.
Heat oil in a heavy pot and sauté the onion, garlic, leeks and fennel until slightly softened, about 8 – 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, potatoes, wine, stock, thyme, oregano and bay leaf. Bring to a slow boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Puree the mixture in a blender or food processor. Pour through a fine sieve and return to the pot. Add the orange zest, saffron, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until somewhat reduced, about 20 – 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the over to 3750F.
Brush the bread slices with melted butter and top with garlic. Toast in the oven until browned.
Cut the fish into chunks about 2 inches square. Add to the sauce and cook for 8 – 10 minutes, or until the fish is done.
Add the crabmeat and clams. Stir, then cover. Cook just until the clams have opened. Remove 1 cup of the liquid for making the Rouille.
Prepare the Rouille according to the recipe that follows.
Place 1 piece of garlic bread in each bowl, then spoon in the fish and broth. Arrange the clams on top. Garnish with fresh parsley. Serve the Rouille on the side.