Fish stew is fabulous. Quick and easy to make. It can even be used for a dinner party, since the sauce base can be made in advance, and the fish shovelled in, stirred about to cook, just before serving – and it works even if we have had a glass of wine or two. This recipe comes from the BBC Good Food website. I give it as is then give some suggestions for modifications to make it work a bit better. My favourite recipe for fish stew is in Sophie Grigson and William Black’s book Fish, and is called What-you-will-fish-stew.
As usual it says it serves 4. Four whats I am never quite sure, since they have remarkably small appetites. In truth it will serve 2 – 3.
- 1 tbspn olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- ½ tspn hot paprika
- 1 can chopped tomatoes. I would definitely use passata here or fresh tomatoes. Cans are lined with a nasty chemical that does us no good.
- 1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks
- 450g/1 lb mixed fish, filleted and cut into chunks.
- Handful chopped coriander leaves
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan, tip in the garlic and paprika and cook for 1 min.
- Add 100ml/4 fl oz/½ cup water (please use wine, red or white instead) and the tomatoes.
- Bring to the boil, turn down heat, add the red pepper and simmer uncovered for 5 – 15 mins, until thick.
- Season with salt. If it tastes a little sharp, you could add a little sugar.
- Add the fish, stir about, cover and cook for a further 5 mins until the fish is cooked through.
- Sprinkle over the coriander and serve with lemon wedges.
So this is the base. To add a little more spice, you could use a chilli pepper. If you have any kicking about, then using fish stock instead of wine or water would be good. You could also try adding more spices to the tomato sauce base, like coriander seeds, cumin, thyme, bay leaf, celery and so on. I would add raw prawns to the fish, ideally still in their shells. Although messy to eat, they will add a delicious flavour. If you use fresh tomatoes, you may want to skin them first, and then there is the deseeding question. Up to you and the clock, really.