Italian-Style Fish Stew
This is a simple Italianate fish stew, with classic Mediterranean flavors. It’s easy to put together and everything can be prepped ahead. Just pop it the oven 30 minutes before dinner.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 2pounds white-fleshed fish fillets, such as hake, snapper or sea bass, skin removed
- Salt and pepper
- 2teaspoons chopped thyme or marjoram
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1small lemon, thinly sliced
- 2cups diced white onion
- 4minced garlic cloves, plus 1 whole garlic clove for rubbing bread
- ¼teaspoon crushed saffron
- ½teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½teaspoon crushed fennel seed
- 1bay leaf
- 1tablespoon tomato paste
- 1cup dry white wine
- 2cups diced tomatoes, fresh or canned
- 3cups fish stock, light chicken broth or water
- 12large clams
- 4thick slices country bread
- ¼cup chopped parsley
Step 1Marinate the fish: Cut fish into 2-inch chunks and place in a medium bowl. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add half the chopped thyme, 1 tablespoon olive oil and the lemon slices. Toss to coat and set aside for 30 minutes (or refrigerate for up to 8 hours).
Step 2Put 2 tablespoons olive oil in a wide heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, season with salt and pepper and cook until softened, stirring, 5 or 6 minutes.
Step 3Add reserved thyme, minced garlic, saffron, red pepper flakes, fennel seed, bay leaf and tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes more. Add wine, tomatoes and stock or water and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust; the broth should be well seasoned. (This seasoned base may be prepared up to 1 day in advance, if desired.)
Step 4Heat oven to 450 degrees. Arrange fish, clams and lemon slices in the bottom of a 9-by-12-inch baking dish or a wide earthenware casserole of similar size. Ladle the broth over everything, cover and bake for 20 minutes, or until clams have opened and fish flakes easily.
Step 5Toast the bread and rub each slice with garlic. Sprinkle parsley over the soup. Serve in low soup bowls, giving each guest some fish, clams, broth and garlic toast.