The photograph of this dish in Martha Stewart a few months back was absolutely gorgeous, and I couldn't wait to make it, but for whatever reason, I kept putting it off, pulling out the issue every once in awhile, then tucking it back away, saving it for some future date in which a fish stew would be the perfect thing to make. That day came on Saturday, and like usual, once I looked at the recipe and read through the steps, I realized how simple and quick this dish would be, despite how impressive it looks when plated up.
A simple broth made with tomatoes, garlic, saffron, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes provides the "bath" for chunks of white firm-fleshed fish, which cooks just until opaque, and is finished with currants, sliced green onions, and almonds. The recipe was almost too basic, and since I had some time on my hands Saturday before our dinner guests arrived, I embellished it, adding a few ingredients, and enriching the dish with extra flavor where I could.
We served the stew with fresh baguette for dipping in the beautiful broth, and a green salad on the side. It was so easy, and so delicious, that we will be making this again and again, although I'm sure it will be slightly different each time, as it is really more of an outline for making a quick fish stew.
Cod in Tomato Saffron Broth
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living
3 Tbsp olive oil
½ medium onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 large pinches saffron
1 tsp dried oregano
28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
½ cup white wine
¼ cup dried currants
2-3 cups chicken broth
1 ½ lbs Cod, Grouper or other firm, mild white fish, Cut into 1-2 inch chunks, seasoned with salt and pepper
¼ cup sliced almonds
2 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
Heat the oil in a heavy medium pot over moderate heat. Add the onion and saute until golden and slightly browned. Add the garlic and spices, along with salt and pepper, and saute until fragrant, a few minutes. Deglaze with the white wine and let it cook off. Add the tomatoes and crush with a wooden spoon. Saute for a few minutes to meld the flavors.
Add the currants, then the chicken stock, about a half cup at a time, reducing it down, then adding more once the broth has thickened. Repeat this several times, and finish with a little more broth, to reach the desired "thickness" of the broth. This is optional, but if you have the time it makes for a more flavorful broth. If you do not plan on working this step in, then only add about a cup of broth, and reduce only slightly.
When you are ready to serve, add the fish, and simmer gently until opaque throughout.
To serve, ladle the stew into shallow bowls, and garnish with green onion and sliced almonds. Serve with crusty bread.
This was great, and so easy. This is a good basic recipe to work from for a fish stew - lots of possible variations. I also added halved cherry tomatoes and cooked those down in the broth.