Mediterranean Fish Stew
This quick and easy Mediterranean Fish Stew is the perfect healthy winter comfort food! Firm white fish and vegetables simmered in a tomato broth with Mediterranean herbs – all easy ingredients to keep on hand for a fast weeknight dinner.
I’ve had a lot of requests recently for more savory recipes. I get it — now that we’re not hosting big gatherings, people aren’t baking as many big desserts for parties and celebrations.
And while baking will always be my true passion in the kitchen, I cook an awful lot, too. I cook dinner from scratch most nights for my family, and now I’m pretty good at the quick weeknight dinner game.
This Mediterranean fish stew fits all my requirements for a weeknight dinner:
- It’s fast: 35 minutes of total cook time
- It can be (mostly) prepped ahead of time
- Most of the cooking time is hands-off
Oh, and it’s also the best kind of healthy but hearty warm comfort food. A big bowl of soup, filled with fish and vegetables, served with a side of steamed or roasted vegetables and a loaf of bread is about as perfect as you can get for a quick and easy winter dinner.
Best Fish for Stew
Different kinds of fish require different cooking methods, and for this stew, we need something that will hold its texture. Many types of fish have a strong, oily flavor which overpowers the soup, or are too delicate to add to a soup.
Why does fish flake so easily compared to other types of meat? It’s time for my favorite subject… kitchen chemistry!
Fish and meat have a similar protein content, but the structure is different. Fish has shorter muscle fibers and less connective tissue, and this connective tissue transforms into gelatin at a much lower temperature than the connective tissue in other meats, which results in the characteristic flaky texture.
For this Mediterranean fish stew, you’ll want to use a “meatier” type of fish with a firmer texture. Halibut, cod, catfish, snapper, or grouper are all perfect.
Avoid flaky like sea bass, branzino, flounder, tilapia, or trout — these fish are too delicate and tend to fall apart as they cook in the stew.
Easy Make Ahead Fish Stew
As someone who works full time and has two small children, I love dinners that can be prepped ahead of time. This Mediterranean fish stew is no exception!
Cook everything for the stew up until adding the fish, then cool to to room temperature and store in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, heat the stew over medium heat, covered, until simmering; then add the fish and cook for 5 minutes.
Common Question and Mediterranean Fish Stew
Use a firm white fish, like halibut, cod, catfish, snapper, monkfish, or grouper.
Substitute the wine with 1 cup of chicken broth or vegetable broth.
If you don’t like fennel, swap in any other vegetable you like in soup; spinach or kale works exceptional well. If you can’t find fresh fennel, use two stalks of celery plus one teaspoon of dried fennel seeds to replicate the texture and flavor.
Once the fish is added, it is best consumed while still warm. The base for the stew can be made a day in advance, with the fish added and cooked immediately before consuming. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, but reheating the soup will cook the fish further and the texture will change.
More Easy Soup & Stew Recipes
- Vegan Curried Lentil Soup
- Sweet Potato Peanut Soup
- Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup
- Instant Pot Beef Stew
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- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 bulb of fennel, diced
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes, with juices (or 4-5 whole tomatoes)\
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 pound halibut, cod, or other firm white fish
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs (suggested: combination of oregano, rosemary, basil, and chives)
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta
- Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté the onion until soft, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté an additional minute. Add in the fennel and red peppers, and continue to cook until just soft.
- Pour in the white wine and simmer for several minutes, until reduced by about half.
- Stir in the tomatoes, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add an additional half cup of water if necessary, depending on how much liquid simmered off.
- Cut the fish into bite-sized pieces and add the fish. Continue to simmer until fish is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the fresh herbs. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with fresh feta.
- Use a firm white fish, like halibut, cod, catfish, snapper, monkfish, or grouper.
- Base of soup can be made a day ahead of time; follow the recipe but stop before adding the fish. Cool and refrigerate the soup; then reheat over medium heat until simmering and add fish before serving.
Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, but reheating the soup will cook the fish further and the texture will change.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 309Total Fat: 9.7gCarbohydrates: 19.4gProtein: 27.1g
This Mediterranean Fish Stew recipe was originally published on 01/22/2015 and republished with new photos and helpful tips on 12/04/2020.