Smoky Tomato Fish Stew

Smoky Tomato Fish StewI want to clarify something . . .  comfort foods do not have to be rich and heavy! Comfort foods can also be light, refreshing, and healthy!  No question about it!

My comfort food of choice varies from day to day really.  One day, my comfort food could be a super yummy salad, the next it could be a spicy noodle soup.  Last week all I wanted in the comfort food department was a Nutella Truffle!  (Actually, that one would work any time.)

And today, comfort food is this Smoky Tomato Fish Stew — and guess what?  It’s rich, hearty, light, and healthy — all at the same time.

This fish stew also happens to be exactly what I want after an appetizer of Ahi Tuna Tartare!

Do you get it?  Yup, we’re building up to another lovely weekend meal. Get on the phone and make plans with a friend or two!

And dessert to cap off the meal is coming this Friday!

What’s your favorite comfort food?  That is, what is it today?

Smoky Tomato Fish Stew
Serves: Serves 4 to 6
  • Olive oil for the pan
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 cup thinly sliced brown onion
  • 4 whole medium-sized garlic gloves, stems removed and sliced thinly
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons finely chopped, fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme
  • 1 cup corn kernels (use frozen, thawed corn if corn is not at the peak of its season)
  • 1 cup roasted red pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces (about 2 small-medium peppers)
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes (I like San Marzano)
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup packed spinach leaves
  • ½-pound fresh Halibut fillets, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ½-pound Black Cod fillets, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Smoked sea salt, sugar and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  1. Coat the bottom of a medium-large soup pot with olive oil, and place it over low-medium heat. Add the paprika and let it cook until it begins to sizzle, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add the onion and turn the heat up to medium. Let the onion cook for about 5 minutes and then add the garlic. Continue to cook until the onions are very soft, about 5 more minutes. Stir in the rosemary and thyme and let it cook until it's very aromatic, about 30 seconds. (It's quite beautiful at this point -- look!)
  3. Add the corn and roasted peppers and combine. Cook until the bottom of the pan is very brown, about 5 minutes.
  4. Deglaze the pan with the tomatoes, stock and wine. Add the cayenne, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Add the spinach, fish and lemon juice, and cook just until the fish is cooked, about 5 minutes.
  6. Season generously to taste with smoked sea salt, sugar and freshly ground black pepper.

Smoky Tomato Fish Stew

Up to 1 day and at least 1 hour ahead: Make the soup up to the point of adding the fish.  (Let it cool, and store it in the refrigerator in the pot — when you’re ready to continue the following day, slowly bring it to a strong simmer before adding the fish.)
About 10 minutes ahead: Add the fish and remaining ingredients, and season.

I use frozen, thawed corn for this, this time of year.  I you make this in the summer, definitely use fresh!
You can use regular sea salt — however, I love the added smokiness from the smoked sea salt!

Here’s how to roast your red pepper!

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  1. says

    I’m the child of Vietnamese immigrants, so I grew up eating a lot of Vietnamese food. After the holidays, I always “detox” with something Vietnamese. When I’m done with that, I always gravitate towards a soup, stew or chowder. After all, it’s January and it gets cold at night. Your stew is perfect to ward off the chill. 🙂


  2. Todd says

    Saw this yesterday and had to try it. Didn’t have all the ingredients on hand so I made a few exchanges and it was superb. One of the nicest stewy type dishes I’ve had! I used fresh tomatoes, just quartered, skins and all, no wine so added a cup of fish stock and a cup of chicken stock as the liquid, had no peppers or corn so added a heap of roughly chopped mushrooms. I used white Pearl fillets and they came out tasting and the texture of lobster! I served it over large cubes of dry baked sweet potato. It was magic! Thanks so much, this is a style of cooking I will use many times again 🙂

    • valentina says

      Thanks so much, Todd! So happy you tried this and loved it. That’s the great thing about this style of cooking — you can typically use what you have on hand and make a great flavor combination. 🙂

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