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Simple Fish Stew

Simple Fish Stew

That delicate little spoon above is from my grandmother’s collection of silver, the kind of stuff that’s brought out only once a year. And that’s my step-mom’s beautifully patinaed All-Clad pot. And the stew that we supped on the night of Christmas Eve, whose simplicity and ease is remarkable. It’s just fish, fish stock, tomatoes, wine and spices. It’s all you need. We seem to have unofficially adopted a seafood-themed dinner the night before Christmas, and it’s a tradition that I enjoy. But by no means should this fantastic soup be limited to holiday dinners. It’s perfect when reheated the night after, when you’re tired and cold and not in the mood to cook, when you want to feel indulgent without calling upon heavy cream or butter.

Serves 6, roughly

1 pound white fish, such as cod, red snapper or tilapia, cubed
3/4 pound large, uncooked shrimp (reserve shells)
3/4 pound clams, in shell
1/2 pound scallops
2 cups clam juice
2 cups shrimp stock (see note below)
2.5 cups canned diced tomatoes (including juice)
2 cups dry white wine
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup fresh chopped parsley, divided
1/3 cup fresh chopped basil, divided
olive oil
salt + pepper to taste

Note: You can also substitute fish stock for the clam juice and/or shrimp stock. It’s forgiving!

Simple fish stock with shrimp shells: In a sauce pot, add the shrimp shells and two cups water. Simmer over low heat, covered, until needed for soup (at least 15 minutes.)

In a stock pot, saute the onions over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and saute for another minute, stirring frequently. Add the tomatoes, wine and half of both the parsley and basil and simmer for another 5 minutes. Add the clam juice and shrimp stock. When the broth has just begun to simmer, add the seafood. (You may want to add a little water at this point if there’s not enough.) Cover and cook for about ten minutes more, until all the clams have opened. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining parsley and basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Enjoy with a crusty baguette!

  • Nicole - That stew looks so comforting and delicious! I’ve never made a fish stew and I need to change that. The spoon and pot are just beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • kimberley - It’s too easy to not make some blustery night!ReplyCancel

  • Peggy - That stew looks absolutely delicious! The photos are definitely gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • Carrie - I’ve always been hesitant to try fish stew for some reason. It looks so wonderful! And beautiful photo!ReplyCancel

  • the urban baker - it is the perfect day for this soup, her in not so sunny So.Cal! this looks delish!ReplyCancel

  • judith - thank you for this recipe. I made the dish for my family tonight and we all delighted in the outcome. The basil was a perfect touch to balance all the flavors. Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • kimberley - @Peggy: Many thanks!
    @Carrie: Perhaps this will make a believer of you. It’s a great start.
    @the urban baker: We had it on a rainy night in SoCal ourselves!
    @judith: I am so pleased that you and your family enjoyed! (And impressed that you made it so quickly.)ReplyCancel

  • Omar - Ummm is that 2.5 cups canned, or fresh tomatoes? I used fresh and it was tasty but it did not look like yours. Lacked what looks like some serious tomatoey goodness.ReplyCancel

  • kimberley - @Omar: Oops, sorry about that! Yes, they were canned. Will fix it posthaste.ReplyCancel

  • Jenn C - I came across your blog and this recipe via Tastespotting awhile ago. I finally made the fish stew for dinner last night, and it was delicious! If you are cooking for two, you can easily halve this recipe (which is what I did, but still using a full can of tomatoes). I love meals like this that somehow feel like a treat, but are still healthy.ReplyCancel

  • peggy - I cannot print out the simple fish stew recipe? Am I missing something? I cant on any of my computers? thanksReplyCancel

  • Kimberley - Hi Peggy – You’ve inspired me to get a print button up on my site.ReplyCancel

  • Jenna - This was such a winner – I flexed it a little on the stock as I didn’t have everything and it was still wonderful. Plus, Dukan-diet friendly. Kudos!ReplyCancel

  • AN EMBARRASSMENT OF RICHES: DUNGENESS CRAB STEAMED IN CHAMPAGNE AND BUTTER, WINTER FEASTS » The Year In Food - […] great on its own, steamed and then dredged piece by piece in warm butter, or tucked into a warming seafood stew. I’ve done all of the above lately. It makes me feel lucky. Steaming crab in champagne sounds […]ReplyCancel

  • Kelsey - Your recent post took me here. I would totally kill for a warm cuppa’ this right now. Lovely, and the newest post lovely too. Happy New Year, friend :)ReplyCancel

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