1/4 cup canola oil
1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
5 garlic cloves, smashed
2 large ancho chiles, seeded and torn into large pieces
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 cup dry white wine
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 cup 2-percent milk
2 dozen cherrystone clams, scrubbed
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small red onion, finely chopped 1 celery rib, finely chopped
1 fennel bulb, finely chopped
1 10-ounce package frozen corn kernels, thawed
1-1/2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika
1 pound skinless halibut fillet, cut into 1-1/2-inch cubes
1 pound shelled and deveined medium shrimp
Oyster crackers or crusty bread, for serving
1 In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the yellow onion, garlic, ancho chiles and fennel seeds and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the onion is lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add the wine and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cook over moderate heat until the vegetables and anchos are very tender and the broth is slightly reduced, about 15 minutes. Stir in the milk.
2 Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender. Strain the soup into a heatproof bowl and rinse out the pot.
3 Add 1 cup of water to the pot along with the clams. Cover and cook over high heat until the clams open, about 8 minutes. Transfer the clams to a bowl and remove them from their shells; rinse to remove any grit. Chop the clams. Pour the clam cooking broth into a bowl and let the grit settle, then add the broth to the soup, stopping before you reach the grit at the bottom. Season the soup lightly with salt and pepper.
4 Rinse out the pot and wipe dry. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pot and heat until shimmering. Add the potatoes and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Stir in the red onion, celery, chopped fennel and corn. Add the paprika and cook over moderate heat, stirring until the celery is crisp-tender, about 7 minutes. Add the soup and bring to a boil.
5 Add the halibut, shrimp and chopped clams to the soup and simmer until the halibut is white and the shrimp are pink, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the soup in shallow bowls with oyster crackers or crusty bread.
This dish can be prepared through Step 4 and refrigerated overnight.
Round, full-bodied Viognier.