Italian fish stew

The key to this delicious and festive looking dish is the freshness of the fish. Serve it with steamed potatoes and green beans or a fresh green salad.

Serves 4


  • 1 kg mixed seafood, including a few raw prawns and a selection of fish (flathead, gurnard or leatherjacket are good choices), cleaned
  • 10 g dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in 1 cup cold water for 1 hour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon aniseed
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley leaves, plus a few whole leaves to garnish
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 400 g can chopped tomatoes or 4 fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Shell the prawns, remove their head and tails and carefully pull away the intestinal tracts. Remove the heads from the fish, snip off the fins and cut them into chunks through the bone.
  2. Drain the soaked porcini mushrooms and set them aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large, non-stick saucepan over a medium heat. Add the chopped onion and aniseed and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes without browning. Stir in garlic, parsley, wine and tomatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  4. Meanwhile, place the anchovy fillets, pine nuts and porcini mushrooms in a mortar and pound to a purée (or use a small food processor, if you have one). Add to the pan and simmer for 1 minute.
  5. Arrange the pieces of seafood neatly in the pan and season with salt and pepper. Shake the pan gently to ensure all the seafood is coated by the sauce, then cover with aluminium foil and a lid. Cook over low-medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, or until the fish is tender and cooked through. Base the fish once or twice during the cooking time.
  6. Sprinkle on the parley leaves to garnish and serve at the table with steamed vegetables or salad.

Recipe and image from Recipes For A Great Life, by Gabriel Gaté and Dr Rob Moodie, with food photography by Greg Elms, published by Hardie Grant Books.

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