I’ve had Cioppino, which is the Italian version, and Bouillabaisse, which is the French version and below you will find my version of a seafood stew. I can’t drink alcohol so you will not find any white wine in mine, though you will find it in most Italian and French versions. It is up to you, but I think my recipe works really well without it. I prefer to use monkfish because of its distinctive taste—almost like lobster, but you can use any firm white-fleshed fish. I also like to add sliced fresh squid, but it is hard to find where I live. The dish is really quite flexible as long as you have a variety of seafood. You can make the broth the day before, then bring to a boil and add the seafood. Be sure not to overcook the fish!
Rinse fish and pat dry. Cut into 1 inch cubes. Rinse shrimp and pat dry. Rinse mussels thoroughly and pat dry.
Bring stock to boil. Add fish, shrimp, scallops and mussels and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. When stock returns to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Uncover and check to see if mussels have opened. You may want to gently stir the stew at this point. If mussels have not yet opened, cover and continue to simmer about 5 minutes more or until mussels open. Garnish with minced parsley.
Set oven to broil at 500 degrees. Mix pesto, mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Arrange slices of French bread on a cookies sheet. Brush lightly with olive oil. Toast bread slices. Remove from oven, turn over and brush with pesto mixture. Return to broiler and toast until edges turn brown.
Put a slice of French bread in a bowl and spoon over a generous portion of the fish stew. Garnish with additional parsley if desired. Serve additional French bread on the side to sop up all of the wonderful broth.