1/4 cup, plus 3 tablespoons, olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon minced, fresh garlic
1 cup chopped, yellow onion
1/2 cup thinly sliced, red bell pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced, green bell pepper
1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup thinly sliced, fresh fennel bulb
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as pinot gris
2 cups clam juice
3 cups chopped, ripe tomatoes (or diced, canned tomatoes with juice)
1 teaspoon salt
Dash of Tabasco
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon minced, fresh basil
1 teaspoon minced, fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon minced, fresh thyme
3/4 pound steamer clams, in shell
1/2 pound mussels, in shell, scrubbed and debearded
1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 8 shrimp)
1/4 pound sea scallops (halved) or bay scallops (whole)
1/2 pound mixture of skinless, firm-fleshed fish fillets or steaks (consider salmon, cod or halibut), cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
4 cooked small, red potatoes, halved
1/4 cup Pernod (anise-flavored liqueur; optional)
Fresh fennel fronds, for garnish (optional; but they play off Pernod)

To prepare stew base, pour the 1/4 cup olive oil into a large stew pot or Dutch oven and heat over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, peppers, mushrooms, fennel and orange zest. Saute for about 5 minutes, stirring often, or until onion is translucent.

Add the wine, clam juice, tomatoes and seasonings. Increase heat to high and bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat, adjust seasonings and, if not using immediately, cool and refrigerate until needed, for up to several days (freeze up to 6 months).

To finish stew, pour the 3 tablespoons olive oil into a deep, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven and place over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add the clams, mussels, shrimp, scallops and fish. Saute for 30 seconds. Add the cooked potatoes and Pernod (if using) and cook for 30 seconds more, then add stew base. Cover and continue cooking just until clams and mussels open (remove and discard any shellfish that do not). Immediately remove from heat and divide fish and shellfish among 4 individual soup bowls. Ladle in broth and vegetables.

Garnish with the fennel fronds, if desired. Serve immediately with warm French bread for dipping.

Makes 4 servings.

— Recipe adapted from "Pacific Northwest — The Beautiful Cookbook," edited by Cathy Casey.