The stew, without the fresh seafood, can be made a day ahead. Bring to a simmer before adding the seafood when ready to serve. Don’t forget the sourdough bread and bib.
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 yellow onions, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes, in their juice
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 ½ cups dry red wine
1 cup bottled clam juice
2 cups vegetable stock
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 pounds fresh hard-shelled crabs, cleaned and cracked
1 ½ pounds small hard-shelled clams
1 pound white fish fillet
1 pound large shrimp, peeled with tails remaining
3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a large soup pot over medium high heat, heat the oil and sauté the onions, garlic, and bell pepper until tender, approximately 5 minutes. Crush the whole tomatoes by hand into the pot and add their juices. Add the tomato paste, red wine vinegar, wine, clam juice, and vegetable stock. Stir in the oregano, bay leaf, and red pepper flakes and bring the mixture to a boil.
Reduce the heat, and add the crab pieces and clams and simmer, covered, until clams just open, approximately 5 minutes. Discard any unopened clams. Add the fish and shrimp and simmer until the seafood is just cooked through, approximately 5 minutes. Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve with chunks of sourdough bread.