Clams and White Fish in Carrot-Saffron Broth

Clams and White Fish in Carrot-Saffron Broth recipe
Photo: Lennart Weibull
Prep Time:
50 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 20 mins

Provençal bouillabaisse meets New England seafood stew in this brothy dish that features meaty clams and tender white fish. Carrots, fennel, and cherry tomatoes—along with fragrant aromatics like white wine, orange zest, and saffron—brighten up this wintry stew, making it a perfect dish for a cozy night in.


  • teaspoon saffron

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest, plus orange wedges for serving

  • 4 pieces white fish, such as halibut or cod (each 3 ounces), skin removed

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

  • 1 leek, halved and well washed

  • 1 fennel bulb

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 6 ounces cherry tomatoes, such as Sungold, halved (1 ½ cups)

  • cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc

  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 ½-inch pieces (1 ½ cups)

  • 1 cup clam juice, such as Bar Harbor

  • 1 pound littleneck clams (16 to 20), scrubbed and purged (see cook's note)

  • Crusty bread, for serving


  1. To bloom saffron, crush it in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt; transfer to a small bowl. Stir in 1 tablespoon hot water; set aside. Rub orange zest over both sides of fish; season with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.

  2. Roughly chop dark-green parts of leek and half of fennel bulb. Place in a small saucepan; cover with 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Strain; discard solids. Meanwhile, finely chop white and light-green parts of leek and remaining half of fennel bulb.

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon each oil and butter in a large straight-sided skillet (or large Dutch oven) over medium; add finely chopped leek and fennel and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and wine and cook until wine has evaporated, 1 minute.

  4. Add carrots, saffron mixture, clam juice, and 1 1/2 cups strained broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until carrots are crisp-tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Add clams, cover, and cook until all have opened, about 10 minutes more. Remove clams and transfer to a bowl (discarding any unopened ones); cover to keep warm.

  5. Add fish to skillet, cover, and simmer until cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer fish to a plate. Stir remaining 2 tablespoons butter into broth; season lightly with salt and pepper. Return clams and fish to skillet; heat through, 30 seconds. Serve with bread and orange wedges.

Cook's Notes

To purge clams, place them in a large bowl filled with two quarts of cool water and two tablespoons of fine sea salt. Let stand 30 minutes, then drain and rinse.

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