Provencal Fish Stew

I only like to blog the successes unless there is humor or an interesting lesson in the duds. “Giff is an idiot” doesn’t qualify as a lesson. Too obvious. I am pleased to say that last night’s meal was an unqualified success. Even I, who tends to be hypercritical of my own dishes (to Lisl’s annoyance), loved this. Essentially, you make a really good vegetable stew with provencal flavors, and then finish it off with the fish and serve on a bed of rice. Most satisfying!

wine bottleOur fishmonger had some really good looking tuna, so I had him cut some 1/2 slices adding up to just over a pound. I think a firm fleshed fish like tuna or halibut is best for this recipe.

We served this dish with a delicious white wine from the Jongieux region in France called Carrel Vin de Savoie, and some freshly baked bread.

Provencal Fish Stew
Serves 4 to 6

~1 lb raw tuna, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 large vidalia onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 medium zucchini, halved and sliced
1 green pepper, chopped
1 fennel bulb, chopped
7 small/medium garlic cloves (and if you really love garlic, it can take more)
large handful of kalamata olives, chopped
1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup dry white wine (or dry vermouth)
1/2 cup water
handful of parsley, chopped
handful of fennel fronds, chopped
large sprig of thyme (or several, tied together)
1 bay leaf
4 or 5 medium tomatoes, sliced
1 medium red onion, sliced into rings
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper
olive oil
served with 1 cup of long grain white rice

fish stew mise

In a dutch oven or stew pot, heat up a splash of olive oil on moderate heat and saute the onions until translucent. Add in the zucchini and cook for 5 minutes, then add in the chopped celery, fennel, green pepper and garlic, along with a couple pinches of salt (not too much since the olives will add saltiness). Continue to saute for another 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and letting the vegetables get tender.

Finely chop the parsley and fennel frond and add to the pot. Toss in a bay leaf and a large sprig of fresh thyme, along with the 1/2 cup of white wine, 1/2 cup of water, crushed tomatoes, kalamata olives, and juice from half a lemon. Stir all together and cook on a light simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes.

fish stew - in process

Thinly slice the tomatoes and add to the pot. Thinly slice the red onion into rings and stir into the pot. Cover and continue to cook on a light simmer for 20 to 30 more minutes, letting all the flavors meld together. Taste for salt and pepper.

Slice the tuna into rough cubes about 1/2 to 1 inch a side. Start cooking your rice.

When your rice is 5 to 10 minutes from being done, add the tuna to the stew pot. The fish should only need 5 to 10 minutes to become firm and cook through, no more.

Plate by spooning a mound of rice into a bowl, ladle the fish stew on top, and then grind a little fresh pepper.

fish stew

18 thoughts on “Provencal Fish Stew”

  1. I like the addition of the Kalamata! And I note that you are keeping up the good work with the 5 minute wonder bread. I need to make a batch tonight (maybe the olive oil based one? have you tried it?)

  2. hi TasteHongKong, I think it really comes down to personal preference. I was quite happy with two spoonfuls in the bottom of the bowl and no more — felt that it was quite balanced that way. If you love rice, by all means heap it on!

  3. This really sounds amazing. We always end up searing our tuna so I would never have thought of this. Truly has my mouth watering…

  4. This delicious dish really reminds me of my honeymoon in Provence. Great recipe and I love the bright colors of the bowl!

  5. Sorry I’m reading your blog a little late. Congratulations.

    I’m laughing about you only wanting to blog your successes. I have to agree. I will admit if something doesn’t come out quite right, but if it’s a total failure, it’s not on the blog.

  6. so, so good. we’re almost there – getting past the stew season. but this, i’m down with. it’s healthy and kind of springy at the same time.

    so, giff, i totally don’t blog about the crap dishes i make. ok, i did blog about one, but it was a dessert and i’m crap and desserts.

  7. i know spring spring spring… I took a walk through the woods today and there were still no flowers!

    I hate making dessert 🙂

  8. Yumm looks tasty (and healthy too). I like that you put some olives in there.

    I really need to lay off the pork and shellfish. After all that pork I had in NOLA, I came home and made gumbo, then had crab tonight and there’s a pot of menudo simmering on the stove now for tomorrow night.

  9. This dish is not just attractive, I imagine that it is very healthy too with all those veggies.

  10. That dish has got my mouth watering … looks divine. I especially like the kalamata olives in the stew. The tuna is also a great choice as it can hold its own amongst such a hearty sauce.

  11. Made this tonight and it was fantastic! I made it with monkfish b/c it’s what looked good at the fish shop and it turned out great. Dan had a humongous bowl and went back for seconds.

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