1 1/2 to 2 lbs. bay scallops
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 c. sliced leeks, white part only
1/2 c. thinly sliced yellow onion
6 oz. pancetta, cut into thin strips
4-6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced, plus 1-2 garlic cloves, cut in half
2 c. fresh or canned tomatoes
1 1/2 c. Italian white wine, divided
5 c. fish stock
1/2 lb. fresh white mushrooms, sliced
4 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 orange zest strips
1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
1/8 tsp. powdered saffron
Salt and ground white pepper
4 slices country-style white bread
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a large pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the leeks and onion and sauté until barely translucent, about 3 minutes; do not allow them to brown. Add the pancetta and sauté for about 2 minutes to blend the flavors. Add the sliced garlic and tomatoes and sauté for 1 minute.
Raise the heat to high, add 1 1/4 c. of the wine and deglaze the pan by stirring to dislodge any browned bits from the pan bottom. Bring to a boil and add the stock, mushrooms, parsley, bay leaf, orange zest, thyme, fennel seeds, and saffron. Return to a boil; reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, 15-20 minutes.
Add the scallops and cook 2-3 minutes. Add the remaining 1/4 c. wine and simmer until the scallops are just opaque throughout, about 1 minute longer. Remove the bay leaf and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, toast the bread slices until golden. Rub a cut side of the halved garlic cloves over one side of each warm bread slice and brush with olive oil to taste.
To serve, place 1 bread slice, garlic-rubbed side up, in the bottom warmed individuals bowls. Ladle the stew over the bread slices. Garnish with Parmesan Cheese and serve.