Ligurian Seafood Stew

Blue-eyed cod, barramundi or monkfish fillets are ideal choices for this recipe that draws inspiration from the stunning northern Italian region of Liguria
By Annette Forrest
Photography Louise Lister • Styling Annette Forrest • Photo Chef Lara Reynolds
Ligurian Seafood Stew

Ligurian Seafood Stew

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  • 2 Tbsp 2 extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve

  • 1 large 1 red onion, finely chopped

  • 4 4 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 1 tsp 1 fennel seeds, toasted, crushed

  • ½ tsp ½ dried chilli flakes

  • 1 medium 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and diced

  • 1 1 stick celery, chopped (include leaves)

  • 1 Tbsp 1 tomato paste

  • ½ cup ½ (125ml) dry white wine

  • 2 cups 2 (500ml) fish stock

  • 2 2 x 400g cans diced tomatoes

  • 600 g 600 thick white fish fillets, pin-boned, skinned, and cut into 4cm cubes

  • 8 large 8 green king prawns, peeled and deveined (tail left on)

  • 16 16 black mussels, cleaned

  • 2 Tbsp 2 finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves

  • Sea-salt flakes and freshly ground pepper, to season

  • Char-grilled garlic bread and lemon wedges, to serve


    Heat oil in a large, deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add fennel seeds and chilli flakes. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add fennel and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes until just soft.
    Add tomato paste and wine. Cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes until reduced by a half. Add stock and tomatoes. Cover and bring to the boil. Reduce and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 20-25 minutes or until thickened. Season.
    Increase heat to medium-high, cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium. Add fish, cover and cook for 2 minutes. Add prawns and mussels. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes or until prawns and fish are just cooked and mussels open (see myth buster, left).
    Sprinkle with the finely chopped flat-leaf parsley. Now drizzle generously with extra virgin olive oil. This dish is best served hot from the stove with slices of char-grilled garlic bread and plenty of lemon wedges on the side.

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Cook's tips...

  • For best results, don’t overcook your shellfish. Prawns and mussels only need 2-3 minutes. Bring out their flavour with classic hits of parsley and lemon.
  • Serve with Char-grilled garlic bread and lemon wedges.
  • In the ’70s we were told to throw away mussels that wouldn’t open. Fake news! They’re not spoiled but have weak little muscles that prevent them from opening (and can be prised open with a knife). However, prior to cooking, do toss the ones with broken shells, or those with wide-open shells that won’t close when tapped.

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