Friday, April 13, 2012


(Italian Fish Stew)

It was a dark and stormy night.  The weather was chilling, the rain was pouring, the wind was howling, and the thunder was roaring…  The streets of Studio City were flooded (well, even if it drizzles for ten minutes in “the Valley” the streets flood, but I digress), and Richard thought it was the perfect night for stew.  Visions of beef and lamb in a thick dark soup soared through my mind until I saw a big piece of fish on our beautiful Carrara marble kitchen count.  Fish!  What’s with that.  I’m not that big fan of fish unless it’s shellfish or sole almondine.

As some of you may remember, last November we did our yearly pilgrimage to Sacramento for Thanksgiving week and, as is our custom when we visit my brother, Bob, and his wife, Nguyen, we found new wineries to explore.  This year it was Lodi, Calif.  Yup, Back in Lodi again even tho I’d never been there before… but the tune is catchy and I used the title for a series of blogs about the fine wines/wineries we discovered.

But, this time, not only did we sip some great wines, we picked up a few recipes along the way.  One was an Italian fish stew that Jim Moore of Uvaggio Winery recommended to complement his Uvaggio Primitivo.  The primitivo’s “DNA” is identical to zinfandel we were told, but differs in that it’s a later maturity and has a more uniform ripening.  It’s all Greek to me (in this case Italian) though I can tell you it’s delish w/ this fish… BUT this dish stands totally on its own.  And it was perfect for a cold, rainy night.  I love this stew.



2-3 lbs. firm white fish fillets (rockfish, sea bass, halibut) – Richard used rockfish.
Salt and freshly ground pepper
¼ cup olive oil
3 yellow onions, chopped
2 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons each fennel seeds and dried oregano
1 bay leaf
4-5 large plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
2 cups dry white or red wine
2 cups fish stock or bottled clam juice
Chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley
Chopped fresh basil


Cut fish into 2-inch chunks, place in a shallow glass dish and sprinkle w/ salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and refrigerate while making broth.

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onions and bell peppers and cook until tender, stirring often.

Add the garlic, fennel seeds, oregano, and bay leaf and cook for about 2 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, simmer for 3 minutes

then add the wine and stock, simmering uncoverd for about 10 minutes.

Season to taste w/ salt and pepper; add the fish and simmer, uncovered, until the fish is opaque throughout - about 5-8 minutes. 

Sprinkle w/ parsley and basil and serve.