Seafood Muddle

This dish is eaten from Virginia to the Low Country of South Carolina. “Muddle” comes from early English settlers and means “a mess of fish.”


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2large onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (16-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 medium potatoes, cut into small pieces
  • 6 cups fish stock or bottled clam juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 12 small clams, scrubbed
  • 1 pound fish (cod, flounder or snapper), cut into 2-inch piece
  • 1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 12 small mussels, rinsed and beards removed
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onions,carrots and celery. Cook until softened, 3 to 5 minutes,stirring often.

Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Stir in tomatoes and potatoes. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until potatoes are slightly softened, about 10 minutes.

Pour in fish stock and increase heat to high. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and season with salt and pepper. Simmer until potatoes are completely cooked, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Add clams and cook until they start to open, about 5 minutes. Add fish, shrimp and mussels. Cook about 10 minutes longer until fish is opaque, shrimp are pink, and clams and mussels are fully opened. Discard any clams or mussels that remain unopened. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with parsley and serve hot.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

(c) 2003 Rick McDaniel

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