Easy Fish Stew


The cold weather and being “snowed in” means I am FINALLY finding some time to get back to blogging. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is quite enjoying being house bound. It’s the perfect excuse to cook some comfort food and get some baking done. Keep an eye on the blog as the bounty of the last few days will be here!

This may look like a complicated dish from the list of ingredients but it’s really not! If you don’t have all the spices, don’t let it put you off, use what you can.The aioli is really an integral part of the dish as it gives a fresh flavour balance. The dish is common to Provence and in particular to Marseille but I made it during the cold, snowy weather and it was really comforting without being too heavy.

Easy Fish Stew with Crostini and Cheats’ Aioli

(Serves 4)


600 g fish cut into large bite size pieces (I had salmon, monkfish & haddock in my freezer!)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds (If you don’t have seeds, just use pre-ground)
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 bulb of fennel, diced roughly. Fronds reserved
3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced or grated
1/2 a leek, finely sliced
1 stick of celery, finely sliced
1 shallot (or 1/2 an onion), finely diced
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
A dash of white wine
1 tin of tomatoes
100 mls of vegetable stock or water
1 lemon, (1/2 a teaspoon of zest & two tablespoons of juice)
3 tablespoons of mayonnaise
Some olive oil

A couple of bread rolls or ciabatta, sliced

To garnish: some chopped parsley or the fennel fronds (optional)


1.Dry toast the seeds and place in a pestle & mortar, grind until fine
2.Heat a large, shallow frying pan and add the oil
3.Sauté the shallot (or onion), leek, celery, fennel and 1 clove of garlic until they are soft (about 5 mins or so) and then add the ground spices, chilli flakes & paprika and stir.
4.Add the tomato puree and cook it out to avoid bitterness for a couple of mins.
5.Add the dash of white wine and allow to bubble up, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze.
6.Add the tin of tomatoes and stock or water and simmer for 10 mins
7.Gently place the fish into the stew and simmer for 5-8mins
8.In the meantime, make your crostini and aioli.
9.Place one clove of garlic into a small cup or bowl and add a good glug of olive oil
10.Brush this lightly onto the slices of bread on both sides and place on a hot griddle pan or under a hot grill
11.To make the aioli, place the mayo in a bowl and add the remainder of the garlic, lemon zest, salt and lemon juice. Taste for seasoning
12.Check the fish is cooked through by taking one piece out of the stew and cutting on a board
13.Serve the stew with a dollop of aioli on each portion and the crostini on the side. Garnish with the fennel fronds or some parsley.

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