Christmas should be about spending quality time with family and friends, and what better way to do that than sharing this delicious fish stew with them? It’s really quite easy to make, but it looks and tastes very special, just right for a winter celebration dinner. Your fishmonger should be able to prepare most of the fish and seafood for you. Using good-quality prepared fish stock makes things easier but still adds depth of flavour.
For the marinated fish
monkfish tail 1, about 1.5kg, bone removed, trimmed of sinews
cod fillet 600g
scallops 8 large, shelled and cleaned
live mussels 20, de-bearded and rinsed
squid 2, 250-300g each, cleaned and sliced into rings
garlic 1 clove, peeled and chopped
rosemary 1 sprig, leaves picked and chopped
lemon zest of 1, finely grated
light olive oil 100ml
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the stew
white onions 2 medium, peeled and finely sliced
garlic 4 cloves, peeled and finely chopped
red peppers 2, cored, deseeded and finely sliced
dried chilli flakes ½ tsp
orange ½, finely zested (microplaned) and juiced
saffron strands a big pinch
bay leaves 3
rosemary 1 sprig
tomato purée 50g
good quality chopped tomatoes 1 tin, drained
celery 2 sticks, chopped
celeriac 1 small, peeled and chopped into thin sticks
white wine 300ml
good-quality fish stock 1.2 litres
brussels sprouts 100g, shredded
tinned chestnuts 150g, drained
For the rye bread croutons
good-quality rye bread 6 slices
sunflower oil for frying
Cut the monkfish into 8 equal chunks. Cut the cod fillet to give 4 pieces. Put the monkfish, cod and scallops into a bowl and add the garlic, rosemary, lemon zest, olive oil and some salt and pepper. Mix carefully, cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for 1 hour.
Heat a large pan over a medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. When it is hot, add the onions, garlic and red peppers. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until the vegetables have softened but not coloured. Now add the chilli flakes, orange zest, saffron, bay and rosemary and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato purée and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.
Add the drained chopped tomatoes, orange juice, celery and celeriac. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Next, add the white wine and fish stock and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.
Now add the monkfish to the stew base and cook for 1 minute. Next, add the cod, scallops, mussels and shredded brussels sprouts and cook for another 2 minutes. Finally, add the squid and chestnuts then cook for 2 minutes.
To make the rye bread croutons, cut the rye bread into ½cm cubes and heat some sunflower oil in a large frying pan. Once hot, shallow-fry the rye bread cubes until crispy then drain onto kitchen paper.
To serve, place the rye-bread croutons in serving bowls then serve the stew in the centre of the table for everyone to help themselves.