This is a fish stew with origins all over Italy. It is fantastic to make if you want to feed a crowd and tastes absolutely delicious. The base for the sauce can be made a couple of days in advance, ready to be cooked with the seafood and fish to order, leaving you with very little to do last minute.

Ingredients

Serves 6-8

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed (with fronds reserved for garnish) and thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1 red pepper, seeds removed and sliced into batons
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • 150ml dry white wine or fino
  • Zest & juice of 1 orange
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes or passata 
  • 300ml fresh fish stock
  • 225g assorted firm-fleshed fish fillets, such as hake or monkfish, cut into 4cm (1 1/2in) chunks
  • 225g large clams, cleaned
  • 400g raw peeled prawns, peeled and de-veined
  • 150g mussels, well washed & closed
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • grilled slices of sourdough bread, to serve

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a very large heavy-based pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, fennel, red pepper and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add in the fennel seeds, chilli flakes and saffron threads. Stir to combine.  
  3. Deglaze the pan with white wine and add in the grated orange zest and juice. Add in the bay leaf.
  4. Add in the chopped tomatoes and fish stock. Stir well. Place the lid on the pot and cook for 8-10 minutes on a low simmer.
  5. Add the garlic and chilli to the vegetable mixture. Stir in the tomato puree, orange rind, tomatoes, wine, stock and bay leaf. Season with the salt, then cover and bring to a simmer.
  6. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes until the flavours have blended together.
  7. After the stew has reduced and thickened, add in the fish and the shellfish and cover the with lid. Simmer gently for about 5 minutes until the fish and shrimp are just cooked through, and the clams are completely open.
  8. Gently stir in the parsley and season with salt & pepper.
  9. Serve with grilled slices of sourdough on the side.