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Inspiration from the spice rack

Fresh leeks are chopped and simmered.

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So many cooks let ingredients decide what they are going to make for dinner. But that doesn’t mean inspiration comes only from the farmer’s market. I’ve been on a paprika kick of late, so was delighted to find a recipe for Marmitako, a fish stew from the Basque region. It’s all about peppers, in the form of pimenton (smoked paprika),  piment d’espelette (hot paprika), and fresh bell peppers.

Traditionally, this stew features bonito tuna caught in northern Spain. Here in Connecticut, my fresh tuna access is a bit limited. Fortunately, I found a recipe in the Boston Globe that substituted haddock. My local market was carrying the sustainably caught Atlantic version of haddock, so I was set.

This dish requires lots of chopping, for the peppers, leeks and carrots. But once everything is in the pot, it’s mostly hands-off simmering for about an hour. Canned tomatoes and white wine add depth to the broth, and the fish gives this hearty stew a light feeling. It’s going to be my new weekend prep for whatever white fish m


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