Serendipity: the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way
What a great word (it is just so fun to pronounce) but I had never actually looked up the definition until now…so glad to know that I have been using it in proper context all these years.
As an eternal optimist, serendipidity is a wonderful concept: it is a way of acknowledging the silver lining (if you look for it) and being grateful for a positive outcome even if your original plans go awry.
And plans can often go awry. If you read this blog regularly, you will know that my mother is a great source of inspiration for me so when she recommended her latest favourite recipe for clam soup, I was gung-ho to try it last night.
Alas, a slight wrinkle emerged. She lives in Vancouver – by the sea and with easy access to what I consider one of the best public markets on the planet (Granville Island Market) so fresh clams are never a challenge. Living in Toronto, in the winter, without a fresh fish market near by, I was on the hunt – with limited time – on Saturday for fresh clams.
Not finding them, I figured I’d look for frozen clams…no luck. Found frozen mussels on the half shell and bought them in a panic but realized that I would need to adapt the recipe..and that’s when I got creative. Hmmmm….crab meat and shrimp in the freezer already, tomato & fennel in the fridge…maybe it was time to just work with I had available.
A quick stop at the supermarket across the street to pick up some fresh tilapia fillets and I was ready to make seafood stew – which I have never made before.
Serendipitous Seafood Stew (for four)
Heat a splash of olive oil in a large pot and add one sliced chorizo sausage and cook for 4 – 5 minutes. Then add 1/2 diced onion, 2 minced cloves of garlic & 1/4 chopped fennel bulb (white part but retain the fronds) and saute together for another 5 minutes.
Add 6 sliced new potatoes and 2 diced roma tomatoes along with 1 cup of white wine and simmer on a low heat until potatoes are tender. You may want to add water or broth at this point if required.
Then add 300 grams of chopped fish (I used tilapia but any firm fish will do), crab meat and shrimp and mix together. Let simmer (covered) for another 10 minutes or until the fish is cooked, and then lay mussels on top, cover and let steam for another five minutes.
Ladle into bowls, dress with fennel fronds and enjoy with fresh bread and a green salad.
Although last night’s dinner was not all what I was originally planning , it turned out wonderfully! The chorizo added some lovely spice, the seafood was a beautiful combination and the fennel / potato / tomato flavours worked so well with the seafood. And I will get around to Mum’s clam soup recipe before too long…
The joy of cooking (and life) is rejoicing in those moments when taking a chance results in a positive outcome – they don’t come around often enough…when have your cooking adventures been serendipitous?