recipe goodness :: spicy balsamic and fennel fish stew

Spicy Balsamic and Fennel Fish Stew

Spicy Balsamic and Fennel Fish Stew

When most people think of stews, they think of hours of braising meat and heavy, fill-your-belly bowls of wintry goodness. Can a stew be made quickly and with a lightness that still satisfies the desire for deep flavor complexity? The answer is yes. Enter the fish stew.

This recent creation received a table full of ooohs and aaahs and pleas for seconds, so next time you’re looking for an inspired mid-week meal, visit your local fishmonger and produce-stand and stew it up. Why is this such a praise-worthy recipe? The combination of subtle spice {which you can add to if you prefer more} with the sweet balsamic and fennel really hits on all those taste buds and takes the mild fish to a new level. Bonus: the fish only takes 3-4 minutes to cook and is added at the end, so you can easily make the base of the sauce ahead of time, leave in a covered pot, and reheat just prior to dinner, bringing a great meal together in a matter of minutes. Dare I say it’s healthy too? Nah, who really cares about that.

Spicy Balsamic and Fennel Fish Stew

Serves 8 | 40-50 minutes total time

1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1/2 fennel bulb, diced, frawns reserved
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
3/4 can of water
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
2 lbs flounder, skin and bones removed {or other white fish}
2 cups rice {I used brown for more flavor}
Aged balsamic for drizzling
Fennel frawns for garnish

  1. Dice all your veg, setting aside the garlic to add later. Heat oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium heat and add carrots, celery, fennel, red onion, cooking 10-15 minutes until tender and not brown {lower heat or add more oil if starts to brown}.
  2. Prepare your rice according to package instructions in a separate pot.
  3. After the veg cooks for 10-15 minutes, add garlic and a little more oil if pot is dry. Cook 2-3 minutes to release the garlic fragrance.
  4. Add white wine and let simmer 3-5 minutes. Turn heat to high and add the diced tomatoes and fill the can 3/4 full with water to add as well.
  5. Season with anchovy paste, cayenne, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer for 20-30 minutes uncovered, reducing the amount of liquid by about 1/4. Once the sauce is thicker, taste and add additional seasoning as desired. Note: you can make the sauce ahead of time up until this point and reheat prior to adding the fish, making this a quick meal that can be prepared in minutes.
  6. Slice each fish filet into 2-inch wide strips. Season with salt and pepper and add to the simmering sauce. Fish will cook fairly quickly, so check a piece after 3-4 minutes to make sure it is firm and no longer translucent in the middle.
  7. Add a generous scoop of rice to the bottom of a bowl, top with fish stew, drizzle lightly with aged balsamic and top with chopped fennel frawns. Enjoy!
Home-Tested, 8.ate@eight Approved

Chock Full of Flavorful Veg

Fish Stew

Wintry Wonders:
Best Butternut Squash and Green Apple Soup
Grandma’s Italian Wedding Chicken Soup
Wild Child Broccoflower and Celery Root Soup

Braised Grass-Fed Beef Brisket and Polenta
Irish Steak & Guinness Puff Pastry Pie

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