Quick and easy to make, this hearty One-Pan Spanish Fish Stew makes an excellent light weekend lunch or an easy weekday dinner. It doesn’t get much better than a lovely piece of cod cooked in a rich tomato sauce. Served with plenty of crusty bread, this Mediterranean fish recipe makes for a very satisfying meal, with minimal washing up afterwards!
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Mediterranean Holiday On A Plate
Fish cooked in tomato sauce always makes me think of holidays in the Iberian Peninsula. It almost seems like an absolute must to go out and eat fish stew in a seafront restaurant when on holiday in the Mediterranean. And whilst those real authentic dishes normally have a variety of fish and seafood (think Cataplana or Caldeirada), we are sharing our simple version that you can make with just one type of white fish. It still hits the ‘holiday vibes’ spot for us! And if you are looking for a wonderful Spanish-style appetizer, give our Gambas Pil Pil a go!
Ingredient List and Substitutes
- celery sticks: can be replaced with a similar amount of fennel.
- carrots: peeled and chopped into small pieces.
- garlic clove: finely chopped. Substitute it with a level teaspoon of garlic paste.
- butter: can be replaced with olive oil.
- caster sugar: or a little bit of honey.
- star anise: can be replaced with ¼ teaspoon of crushed fennel seeds.
- pitted black olives: sliced.
- capers: small varieties work best, so you have a bit of a sharp burst in every mouthful.
- tomato paste: also known as concentrated tomato puree.
- stock cube: vegetable or fish stock or broth are both great. You may also use chicken stock.
- fresh parsley: finely chopped.
- turmeric: or a pinch of saffron.
- vinegar: cider or white wine.
- mayonnaise: whole egg or reduced-fat mayonnaise.
- skinless cod fillets: can be replaced with a whole variety of different types of fish (see section below).
- crusty bread: to serve. Or serve this Spanish Fish Stew with some foiled potatoes on the side.
What Fish To Use in This Recipe?
For this one-pan stew recipe, you will ideally need a thin fish fillet that cooks quickly before it dries out. For this reason, we think that skinless cod fillets (not loins), skinless tilapia or basa work best in this Spanish Fish Stew. Pollock will work here too! Alternatively, you may use thick fish fillets, but I would suggest cutting it up into smaller chunks of fish rather than keeping it in one piece.
You can also use fresh fish or thawed frozen fish.
This Spanish Fish Stew is a simple dish that comes together in under 30 minutes.
Cook The Vegetables
Start by preparing your vegetables. Thinly slice your celery sticks and cut peeled carrots into small pieces. Crush or finely chop a clove of garlic.
In a large skillet (or large pan), heat a drizzle of olive oil and 20g of butter. Then add celery, carrots and half of the finely chopped garlic. Add star anise, sugar and a pinch of salt. Stirring occasionally, fry on low-medium heat for 8 minutes.
In the meantime, slice your olives (I normally slice each into three). Get your capers ready. Roughly chop your parsley.
Once the vegetables have softened, crumble in a stock cube. Add 3 large tablespoons of tomato paste, olives, capers and 500ml of boiled water. Stir well and cook over medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half. Then stir in the chopped parsley (reserving the best bits for decoration). Season with sea salt and black pepper.
Cook The Fish in The Sauce
Run your fingers down the fillets to check for fish bones.
Add cod fillets to your stew. I normally use rather thin cod fillets (as opposed to thick loins) for this dish. They cook quicker and absorb all the flavours of the sauce in a short time of cooking. This dish also works with basa, tilapia and haddock. Cover the stew with the fish on top with a lid and cook for 6-10 minutes depending on the thickness of your fish. There should be no translucent bits in your fish once it’s cooked.
Make the Turmeric Mayo Drizzle
Whilst the cod cooks, prepare your turmeric mayonnaise. In a small bowl, mix ½ teaspoon of ground turmeric with mayo, the rest of the garlic and 3 teaspoon of water. Mix well to combine. You can add more water to make it the consistency you can drizzle.
Before you spoon your stew into bowls, remove the star anise. Then divide between bowls. If you’re going for an impressive presentation, take care lifting your fish out of the pan, as it will break very easily. Drizzle with your turmeric mayo and scatter the reserved parsley on top of the stew. Serve with plenty of crusty bread to make it a substantial meal!
What to Serve With Spanish Fish Stew?
This Spanish-style stew is a light, low-calorie meal, so if you are looking for a bit of substance, we would suggest adding a couple of side dishes. We love this dish with crusty sourdough bread, that we use to mop up all the leftover sauce, but you may also want to try it with:
Tips and Tricks
- If you have skin-on fish, remove the skin first.
- You can use a mixture of fish, cut up into chunks (like fish pie mix).
- Add some prawns into the sauce alongside the fish for a more authentic Spanish Fish Stew.
- You may use frozen fish fillets, but make sure to thaw them properly first.
Leftovers and Storage
If you have leftovers, make sure to cool them down to room temperature. Spoon the stew into an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
The best way to reheat the stew is over low heat in a shallow pan with a splash of water. Make sure to cover the pan with a lid, to try and keep the moisture in. Alternatively, reheat the stew in a microwave.
We do not recommend freezing it.
Other Delicious Fish Recipes
Not quite what you were looking for? Here are some other suggestions for quick and delicious recipes featuring fish:
- Sea Bass With Pistou
- Panko Breaded Fish
- Zesty Herb-Crusted Haddock
- Homemade Fish Burger With Tartar Sauce (Without Relish)
- Smoked Haddock Gratin
One-Pan Spanish Fish Stew
- Large Wide-Based Pan With a Matching Lid
- 3 celery sticks sliced
- 2 large carrots chopped into small pieces
- 1 garlic clove finely chopped
- 20 g butter
- ½ teaspoon caster sugar
- 2 star anise
- 30 g black pitted olives sliced
- 2 tablespoon capers
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 stock cube
- 5 g parsley finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon turmeric + 3 teaspoon of water
- 1 teaspoon vinegar cider or white wine
- 30 g mayonnaise
- 2 skinless cod fillets
- 2-4 slices of crusty bread
- In a large pan, add a tablespoon of oil and 20g of butter. Once melted, add carrots, celery, star anise, a pinch of salt, half of the garlic and ½ a teaspoon of caster sugar. Fry for 8 minutes on medium heat until softened slightly.
- Crumble in a stock cube, add olives and capers. Then squeeze 3 tablespoon of tomato paste in the pan, add 500ml of boiled water and stir. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer until the liquid reduces by half. This will take 5-10 minutes.
- Mix in chopped parsley and add your cod fillets on top. Now cover with a lid and cook for another 8-10 minutes, until the fish is fully cooked through. It may take longer if your fish fillets are very thick.
- Whilst the fish is cooking, make your turmeric mayonnaise. Mix ½ teaspoon of ground turmeric, 3 teaspoon of water, mayonnaise, the rest of the garlic and vinegar in a small bowl. It should be of the consistency you can drizzle, so add more water if rtequired.
- To serve, divide the stew into bowls, carefully lifting the fish fillets out of the pan. Drizzle with some turmeric mayo and scatter some more parsley. Serve with thick slices of crusty bread.