Tangy Tomato Fish Stew

Prep Time:
15 to 20 minutes
Cook Time: About 40 minutes


  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup (100 g) thinly sliced celery (about 3 stalks)
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 1 bulb fennel, cored, green tops removed and chopped
  • 1 cup (82 g) tender baby or Italian eggplant (fits in palm of your hand, about 4 ounces), stem section removed and diced into ½-inch (1-cm) cubes, optional
  • 1 cup (235 ml) full-bodied red wine
  • 1 can (28 ounce, 784 g) or 2 cans (14.5 ounce, 420 g) diced tomatoes with juice
  • 4 cups (946 ml) low-sodium fat-free chicken broth (1 carton [32 ounce, or 1 L carton])
  • ½ teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1 teaspoon dried sweet ground fennel
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 dashes hot sauce or 1 dash habanera sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound (455 g) wild halibut, skinned, any bones removed, and cut into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • Zest of ½ lemon

In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the celery, onion, garlic, and fennel and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the eggplant if using and sauté the vegetables until they start to soften and the eggplant just begins to brown, about 3 to 4 minutes more. Add the wine and simmer for 8 to 9 minutes, until most of the wine is cooked off. Add the tomatoes, broth, dill, fennel, cayenne, hot sauce, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Increase the heat to high and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the fish, lemon juice, and zest and simmer for another 5 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through but still tender.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Notes from the Kitchen

  • Fish stew is best made on the stovetop rather than in a slow cooker because the flesh is very tender and quick-cooking.
  • Stew is a great way to get non'seafood fans to eat fish because stewing with a good flavor base and broth can remove a lot of the fishy taste that some folks find unpleasant.
  • You can use haddock, pollock, or even thicker cod in place of the halibut. Cod will taste a little fishier, however.
  • Try using heavy tweezers or needle-nosed pliers to debone raw fish.
  • Eggplant, while not particularly nutritionally loaded, is filling, low fat, and low calorie. It adds a density to otherwise light dishes, allowing you to forgo other less healthy starchy options. Although eggplant comes in many varieties, they all taste fairly similar; always choose smaller and younger eggplants and try to use them immediately. The older they are, the tougher and more bitter they become. Small, young varieties are the most tender and don’t even need to be peeled.
  • Cut eggplant right before adding it to the stew, because the flesh will start to darken very quickly.
  • For a zippier stew, omit the eggplant. You’ll get a spicier flavor pop as opposed to the muskier flavor layers created by the eggplant.
  • We tried this recipe using an inexpensive Cotes du Rhone and it
  • was excellent.

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Excerpted from The Healthiest Meals On Earth by Jonny Bowden

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