When the Italian fishermen of San Francisco threw together their combined catches, their respective gardens, and whatever wine they figured they could spare, they didn’t so much as create a masterpiece as procreate one. The heady addition of anise and fennel bitters marries the dish with the vibrancy of New Orleans: nothing short of physical passion in stew form.













Makes 6 Servings


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¾ to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1½ cups white wine 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 1 quart fish broth
  • 2 teaspoons anchovy paste or finely chopped anchovy fillets
  • 1 pound clams, scrubbed
  • 1 pound mussels, scrubbed
  • 1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1 pound salmon fillets, cut into chunks
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fennel bitters (Bar Keep)
  • 1 tablespoon Peychaud’s bitters
  • Crusty bread, for serving


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a Dutch oven or heavy soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the celery and onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Try not to brown.
  2. Put in the garlic and pepper flakes and stir until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the wine, salt, and black pepper; boil for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, broth, and anchovy paste. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until the celery is cooked through.
  3. At this point, you can store the broth for up to 2 days in the refrigerator. Bring back to a simmer before proceeding.
  4. Add the clams and mussels to the broth, cover, and cook until the shellfish are open, about 8 minutes. Add the shrimp and salmon, cover, and return to a simmer. Remove from the heat. Stir in the parsley and bitters. Cover and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Discard any clams and mussels that don’t open. Serve, drizzled with the remaining olive oil, in big soup bowls with lots of crusty bread.

Recipe from Mark Bitterman's Field Guide to Bitters and Amari - Photo by Clare Barboza

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