Mediterranean fish stew with straw potatoes

Mediterranean fish stew with straw potatoes
  • Serves icon Serves 6
  • Time icon Hands-on time 1 hour, simmering time 35 min

All of the holiday-evoking, fragrant flavours of the mediterranean shores packed in to a moreish stew- a recipe to add to your dinner party repertoire.

Nutrition: per serving

Calories
465kcals
Fat
13.4g (2g saturated)
Protein
44.3g
Carbohydrates
33.1g (5.3g sugars)
Fibre
5.6g
Salt
2.8g
Calories
465kcals
Fat
13.4g (2g saturated)
Protein
44.3g
Carbohydrates
33.1g (5.3g sugars)
Fibre
5.6g
Salt
2.8g

Ingredients

  • Drizzle olive oil
  • 2 small onions, finely sliced
  • 1 large fennel bulb, chopped into small dice (fronds reserved)
  • 2 celery sticks, finely sliced
  • 4 anchovy fillets in oil, drained and finely sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • Pinch saffron strands
  • 3 tbsp tomato purée
  • Small pinch caster sugar
  • 200ml dry white wine
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1 litre fresh fish stock (see tip)
  • 3 medium sustainable firm fleshed white fish (such as gurnard, snapper or sea bream), filleted, skinned and pin-boned
  • 600g mixture of mussels and clams (or one or the other)
  • 100g brown crabmeat
  • 400g king prawns, shelled with tail tips left on (if you like) and deveined – see Know-how
  • Juice ½ lemon
  • Pastis for drizzling (optional but recommended – see tip)
  • Chopped fresh parsley and lemon wedges to serve

 

For the straw potatoes

  • 3 large baking potatoes, peeled
  • Sunflower oil for frying

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan and add the onions, fennel and celery. Toss to combine with the oil, season with salt and pepper, then cook over a low-medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring often, until softened but not coloured. When the veg is tender, stir in the anchovy, garlic, chilli flakes and saffron strands, then cook for a few more minutes until fragrant.
  2. Add the tomato purée with the sugar, stir and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Turn the heat up and add the wine. Bubble until almost evaporated, then add the bay leaf and fish stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes until reduced to half its volume.
  3. While the stock mixture reduces, make the straw potatoes. Cut them into strips using a julienne peeler (see Know-how) or a mandoline, or the julienne attachment on a food processor. Soak in cold, heavily salted water for 15 minutes, then drain and pat dry.
  4. Turn the oven to its lowest setting. Heat 4cm oil in a large frying or sauté pan and, when shimmering hot, drop in a couple of potato strands to see if it’s hot enough – they should sizzle on impact. Cook the straws in 2-3 batches, swirling them round a little with a fork for 4-5 minutes, until lightly golden and crisp. Remove with tongs, drain on kitchen paper and season with salt. Keep warm in the oven.
  5. Chop the fish fillets into large chunks. Rinse and scrub the mussels and clams, removing any threads (beards) from the mussels. Make sure the stew base is gently simmering, then stir in the crabmeat. Drop the prawns and shellfish into the pan, followed by the fish chunks and the reserved fennel fronds around a minute later. Cover with a lid and cook for 3-4 minutes, moving things around every so often to distribute the heat, until the fish has turned opaque, the mussels and clams have opened (remove and discard any that don’t open) and the prawns are completely pink. Taste and season with salt, pepper and lemon, adding a slug of pastis if you have it (see tip). Divide the stew among shallow, wide bowls, top with straw potatoes and scatter over the parsley. Serve immediately, with lemon wedges.

delicious. tips

  1. Homemade fish stock will raise this stew to another level. Ask your fishmonger for fish heads and skeletons, and buy shell-on prawns. Put the bones and shells in a large pan, pour over 2 litres cold water, bring to a simmer, then cook for 1 hour to reduce by half. Strain and reserve.
    The pastis gives a wonderful flavour. To use it up, add a splash to fish or pork-based stews or sauces at the end of cooking – and enjoy it as an aperitif, of course.

  2. Make the tomato base (up to the end of step 2) up to 3 days ahead and chill, or freeze in bags for up to 1 month. Defrost thoroughly, heat through and carry on with the recipe.
    Make the straw potatoes, cool and store in an airtight container up to 6 hours ahead. Warm in a medium oven before serving – they’ll only need a few minutes.

  3. Julienne peelers look like normal veg peelers but have serrated blades that cut veg into perfect thin strips. They’re cheap and available from cook shops. We like the Oxo Good Grips one, from lakeland.co.uk.
    For a step-by-step guide to prepping prawns, see deliciousmagazine.co.uk/stories/how-to-prepare-fresh-prawns/

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  1. Great recipe which we thoroughly enjoyed. The recipe is involved but worth all the effort especially the fish stock which knocks spots off shop bought packet ones. We scored it 9/10, wonderful meal!!!

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