There’s nothing better than dipping crusty bread into a comforting bowl of Mediterranean Fish Stew. Nothing else is needed in the dish… no side vegetables or salads just my bowl of fish stew, my piece of bread and I.
The most important components of a good fish stew are the broth, the quality of the fish and the flavours. The broth has to be simply amazing. Without a tasty broth then Mediterranean fish stew just isn’t Mediterranean fish stew. You have to feel the flavours of the Mediterranean in this fish stew. The taste of the ripe tomatoes, the fresh herbs and the Rioja wine. I always add red wine to my broth as it lends richness to the stew, but white wine is perfectly fine too for a lighter tasting broth. I make my fish stock with white wine and prawn shells so you have a homemade stock full of flavour for this dish. And the tomatoes have to be fresh and ripe to make this fish stew Mediterranean.
The Mediterranean flavours I use are saffron and smoked paprika. Saffron adds a smoky aroma to a dish and imparts a lovely colour to the broth. While being the most expensive spice in the world, worth more than its weight in gold, you only need as pinch as it is very intense. This is perfectly coupled with smoky paprika which intensifies the smoky flavour as well as an optional piece of chorizo which intensifies it even further.
Begin by placing your tomatoes in a bowl of boiling water and leave for 10 minutes to soften the skins. Then place them in a bowl of cold water to cool and the skins should remove easily. Chop the tomatoes reserving all the tomato juice with it.
Next prepare your shellfish. Peel the prawns but reserve some for the serving dish. I often buy the normal sized uncooked prawns for peeling and I buy one large prawn per person known here in Spain as Gambon for adding to the top of the stew. Clean your mussels. I place these in a bowl of water mixed with oats as it takes out any impurities. Then you rinse them before you’re ready to add them to the stew. Of course I never peel my prawns…. I always rely on the kids to do it so it’s half the battle! They’re so used to it they don’t even complain… well only sometimes! Job done….
Prepare your white fish by cutting it into large pieces and removing any bones. I find monkfish the best to use but any meaty white fish is fine.
Reserve the prawn shells to make the stock. Add an onion, carrot and celery with parsley or lovage. Lovage is so easy to grow and delicious for stocks and soups. It smells and tastes exactly like celery so it can replace celery when you don’t have it and if it’s growing in your garden then you have it available whenever you like!
Add 1½ litres of water, white wine and seasoning. Add the prawn shells. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain and reserve for the stew.
Now make the tomato base of the broth. Chop your peeled tomatoes. Sweat the onion and garlic in olive oil for 10 minutes and add your tomatoes and red wine along with the herbs. Simmer for 15 minutes. Purée until it is well blended. Then add your fish stock so it thins it down again. At this stage add the piece of chorizo if using. Remember to remove it just be fore serving.
Peel your potatoes into large cubes and place in the broth. Cook for 10 minutes. Add all your fish and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until the fish has cooked. The mussels and clams should have opened, the prawns should be pink and the monkfish white and fleshy.
Place in a bowl and top with chopped parsley.
A taste of the Mediterranenan….
Irresistible with crusty bread… you’ll be queuing up for more!
- 400g mussels
- 400g uncooked prawns
- 6 extra large prawns
- 200g squid rings (anillas de pota)
- 200g clams
- 500 g monkfish
- 5 medium sized potatoes
- 1 large handful of resh chopped parsley
- 500g ripe tomatoes
- 1½ litres water
- 2 onions
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 carrots
- 1 stick celery
- 1 bunch of lovage or parsley
- 200ml white wine
- 200ml Rioja wine
- salt and pepper
- pinch of saffron
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 large piece of chorizo, optional
- Prepare your seafood. Scrub the mussels. Peel the prawns but leave the large prawns unshelled. Rinse the calamares and clams. Cut the monkfish into large pieces.
- To make the broth begin by making your fish stock. Place the prawn shells in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the water, white wine, onion, carrots, celery and lovage or parsley.
- Bring to the boil and simmer on a very low heat covered for 30 minutes. Strain the liquid into a bowl.
- Place the tomatoes in boiling water for 10 minutes to soften the skins. Peel and chop reserving all the juice.
- Sweat the onion and garlic in olive oil for 10 minutes.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and red wine and ½ cup of water. Add the saffron, paprika and seasoning and cook for a further 10-15 minutes until the tomatoes are soft.
- Purée with a soup blender until smooth. Add the reserved liquid to complete the broth. Add the large peice of chorizo of using.
- Peel and slice the potatoes into cubes and cook in the broth for 10 minutes.
- Add the fish and cook on a medium heat for 15 minutes until the fish is cooked and the shellfish have opened. Remove the piece of chorizo.
- Place in pasta style bowls and garnish with chopped parsley.
- Serve with crusty bread.
- For a bit of extra spice add one chopped red chilli with the tomatoes.
- The chorizo adds extra smoky flavour to the dish but is optional.