Archive of BBC Food Recipes

Fish soup-stew

Prep time less than 30 mins
Cook time less than 30 mins
Serves 6-8
From Two Greedy Italians
You can adapt this easy fish stew to suit your guests - use whatever seafood you want to put into the pot.


  1. If your fishmonger hasn’t already done so, clean and prepare your chosen fish and shellfish. Cut fish fillets into large chunks and seafood into manageable pieces.

  2. Put the oil, onion and garlic into a large pan and fry briefly.

  3. Add the tomatoes, wine, chilli, parsley and fennel seeds and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 15 minutes.

  4. Start to add large pieces of fish to the sauce first and those that will take the longest to cook such as monkfish, then add the more tender fish such as red mullet or sole and the shellfish, ending up with the mussels if using. Cook for five or so minutes, or until the fish is cooked and the mussels have opened. (Discard any mussels that haven't opened.)

  5. Rub the bread with garlic, drizzle with olive oil, and put each slice in the bottom of a deep soup bowl. Pour over the soup and serve.


  • 2kg/4lb 8oz mixed fresh fish fillets and shellfish, such as red mullet, small sole, gurnard, monkfish, sea bass, cuttlefish, baby octopus, prawns, mussels, squid or scallops
  • 8 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped, plus an extra clove for the toast
  • 1kg/2lb 4oz ripe tomatoes, skinned and chopped, or 2x400g/14oz tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 125ml/4fl oz red wine
  • chopped fresh chilli, to taste
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped flatleaf parsley
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6-8 slices good bread, slightly stale or toasted

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