A simple Italian fish and potato stew

Oh, my days. It’s absolutely FREEEEZZIINNG at the moment. I don’t know how, but Februarys cold weather always creeps up on me. I wasn’t ready. All I crave is food that warms up my body from the inside out. Food that feels like its wrapping a big fat duvet around my heart. Bring in this Italian fish and potato stew.

STEWS. I’m already a big fan of a stew all year round. However, a winter warming stew is a MUST in getting through these chillier months. With lockdown not going away anytime soon, a stew does not only need to be warming, comforting and healthy but also… SEXY. A bowl of food that makes you grin four hours, if not days after.

An Italian fish and potato stew is one of my latest favourite dishes to bring me comfort. Packed with wonderful ingredients that bring that Italian sunshine into our grey winter kitchens. You can use different fish or seafood, but I don’t think you can beat a lovely meaty white fish and prawns. The key here is to not cook the fish/seafood for too long and time it beautifully. The stew also includes lovely potato to fatten it up. However, I’m always tempted to chuck in some homemade garlic bread on the table to soak up those lovely juices that remain at the bottom of your bowl.

Recipe, steps and tips are here for you.

Enjoy my bambinos!

Italian fish stew

  • Olive oil

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 1 medium- sized carrot, finely chopped

  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped

  • 1 fennel, finely chopped

  • 1 garlic clove, finely sliced

  • 1 tsp of fennel seeds. crushed

  • I red pepper, sliced

  • 150ml white wine

  • 1 tin (400g) peeled tomatoes

  • 1/4 tsp chilli flakes

  • 500ml vegetable stock

  • 200g new potatoes, sliced 1cm thick

  • 200g cod loin or an other white thick fish, sliced into chunks

  • 150g raw king prawns, shelled

  • A handful of fresh parsley or fennel leaves, roughly chopped

  • Sea salt

  • Black pepper

Directions

  • Drizzle 2 tbsp of olive oil into a casserole dish or large saucepan. Fry the onion, carrot, celery and fennel on a low heat with a pinch of salt. Cook and soften the vegetables for at least 10 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and crushed fennel seeds. Stir through and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
  • Next, add the red pepper, pour in the white wine. Bring the heat up to a medium so the wine is gently simmering and reduce it down by half.
  • Add in the tinned tomatoes, chilli flakes and pour in the stock. Finally, add the potatoes. Bring the stew to a boil and reduce to a gentle simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Cover with a lid for the first 15 minutes and then, without, for the latter half. Taste and season as needed.
  • Now we are ready to poach and cook the fish. First, carefully add the cod for 7 minutes and then add the prawns until they have turned pink. This should take no more than 3 minutes.
  • Remove the pan off the heat and finish off with a sprinkling of parsley or celery leaves. Let the stew rest for a few minutes before serving. Serve with garlic bread and more fresh herbs on top.

Tips

  1. When sweating down vegetables, always add a pinch of salt when doing so. It will help draw out any excess water in the vegetables and create a lovely flavoursome base for your stew.
  2. Fennel seeds are a great spice to bring flavour to a fish dish. Heat them through in the base of your dish to maximise flavour.
  3. Don’t be impatient when reducing wine. Reducing the wine is to help to intensify the flavour of our stew. Always do this without the lid, to help the vapour and alcohol escape. Also, wine adds acidity that helps to balance out the other flavours in the stew
  4. By adding stock we are adding more liquid flavour to our stew. Also, we cook with the lid first, to help cook all those ingredients properly; especially the tomatoes. Then we cook without the lid to help reduce and thicken the stew.
  5. Fish doesn’t take too long to cook when poached in liquid. So you want to make sure you do this at the end of cooking. Otherwise, you dry it out. When using raw prawns, they are grey when uncooked but turn a lovely pink when cooked. Make sure you don’t cook them for too long as they will go rubbery.
  6. Adding fresh herbs at the end gives the dish another level of flavour.

If you enjoyed this recipe, then you may want to try the following recipes:

https://thetinyitalian.com/traditional-paste-e-fagioli-pasta-and-beans/

https://thetinyitalian.com/italian-lentil-tomato-stew/

https://thetinyitalian.com/fennel-lamb-stew-parmesan-sage-potato-cakes/

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