Fish stew or simple bouillabaisse

Being in Portugal for a few weeks, we are having a fish and seafood spree. As we don’t speak much Portuguese, our buying method consists of looking at fish stalls and point at interesting specimens and say ‘isso’ (this). Then at home, we decide what to do with it, and fish stew and soup is a good option when faced with a mix of ‘isso’.

The base of this recipe is the bouillabaisse which is a Marseillais dish that normally requires a specific set of fish and shellfish. The great idea behind it is that it’s two dishes in one, a fish stew and a soup. I like keeping the soup for the following day as it tastes even better. You can also adapt it to other stewing fish and add some shellfish like mussels or cockles a few minutes at the end.

4 people

Preparation: 40 minutes

  • 1 small gurnard
  • 4 monkfish tails
  • 1 small skate
  • 1 small sea bream
  • 200 gr. squid
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 kilo of tomatoes
  • 1 glass of white wine
  • olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon saffron
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 small bunch of parsley
  • ground chilli
  • salt and pepper

Dice the onion, garlic, and tomatoes roughly. In a pot, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and throw the garlic in first to colour it a bit, then the onion and let it sweat for a few minutes before adding the tomatoes. Let them cook and render some juice for 10 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and some ground chilli, add the bay leaves. Lay all of the fish on the bed of tomatoes, pour the wine and add water until it covers the fish. Add the saffron and bring to boil then simmer very gently uncovered for 30 minutes – as for most stews, it should bubble very slowly on the surface.

When it’s ready,  add a dash of olive oil, chop the parsley roughly and sprinkle it on top.

You can serve it with toasted bread and rouille, which is a match made in heaven for fish stews and soups or simply with some pan tumaca (i.e. toasted bread on which you rub garlic, then fresh tomato and add some olive oil and salt).


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