3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1 fennel bulb, sliced
1 red capsicum, thinly sliced
1 carrot, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon each ground cumin, coriander and ginger
½ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch chilli flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
¼ cup brandy or white wine
2 cups fish or chicken stock
1 x 400 gram tin tomatoes, crushed
zest of ½ an orange
2 bay leaves
18 clams, cockles or mussels, scrubbed
800 grams firm white fish fillets, cut into 3 cm pieces
12 raw prawns, peeled with tails left on
2 cups instant couscous
2 cups chicken stock, boiling
pinch saffron threads, toasted
knob of butter
¼ cup whole almonds, roasted and roughly chopped
¼ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan and add all the vegetables and spices. Season, cover and cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Add the tomato paste and the brandy and let it bubble up for 1 minute. Add the stock, tomatoes, zest and the bay leaves. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the clams, cover and cook until they open. Discard any that don’t open.
Heat a little oil in another sauté pan. Season the fish and the prawns and fry until just cooked. Add to the stew and gently combine.
Couscous: Combine the couscous, boiling stock, saffron and butter in a heat-proof bowl, cover tightly and leave for 15 minutes. Season and fluff up with a fork. Gently stir in the almonds and the parsley.
To serve: Divide the couscous between warm, shallow soup bowls. Ladle the seafood stew into the centre and garnish with extra parsley. Serve with warm crusty bread.