This Tomato Fish Stew recipe is such a delicious comfort food meal, and it’s light and healthy, too. Full of smoky and fresh flavors and hearty ingredients, this quick and easy dinner works for a busy weeknight or a casual dinner party.
I want to clarify something . . . comfort foods do not have to be rich and heavy.
And today, my comfort food is this smoky Tomato Fish Stew.
This comforting recipe for fish stew is rich, hearty, light, and healthy — all at once.
The secret to its deliciousness?
It’s the way in which the ingredients are layered into the pan, and cooked.
Each ingredient is cooked on its own a bit before the next one is added, allowing each flavor to fully develop. When everything comes together, you can still discern the individual flavors.
Just look into the pan below. And that’s only the first few ingredients — olive oil, smoked paprika, onions, garlic, rosemary and thyme.
What to Serve With it
- It’s fantastic over or beside rice — Basil Rice with Roasted Garlic or Saffron Basmati Rice would both be delicious with it.
- I love it with bread, to soak up any remaining sauce in the plate. Italian Herb Bread is so good with it, and really, any rustic, crusty bread works well.
Can you make it ahead?
- Up to one day (and at least an hour) ahead, you can make the recipe 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.)
- Then, about 10 minutes ahead, add the fish and remaining ingredients, and season to taste.
Recipe Tips and Substitutions
- I used Black Cod in this recipe — however, almost any cod will work well. (You want a flaky, mild white fish.)
- To intensify the fish flavor, you can swap the vegetable stock for fish stock.
- Feel free to experiment with different herbs — oregano would also be lovely.
- I would not skip the roasted red pepper as it adds to the delicious smoky flavor. To save time you can buy them already roasted.
- I like to add fresh, raw corn kernels, cut straight from the cob to this, but to save time, frozen and thawed, or canned and drained, will both work. (During the summer, I highly recommend using fresh.)
- You can use regular sea salt — however, the added smokiness from the smoked sea salt is excellent.
- If you don’t have baby spinach, and the leaves are large, roughly chop them.
- And finally, you’ll notice the instructions tell you to “season to taste with salt, pepper and sugar.” The sugar is only if you find it necessary. I like the very subtle touch of sweetness and usually add just a couple of pinches, especially when the corn isn’t especially sweet.
I hope you love this Smoky Tomato Fish Stew as much as my family and I do.
Smoky Tomato Fish Stew
- olive oil for the pan
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 cup yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 4 whole garlic gloves, stems removed, thinly sliced
- 1½ teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon dry thyme
- 1 cup corn kernels (see notes)
- 1 cup roasted red pepper (click here for how to roast a pepper), cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
- ¾ cup vegetable stock
- ¾ cup dry white wine
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 cup tightly packed baby spinach leaves*
- 1 pound Black Cod fillets (or other white, mild fish) cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- smoked sea salt, sugar and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Make paprika oil. Coat the bottom of a medium-large soup pot with olive oil, and place it over low heat. Add the paprika and let it cook until it begins to sizzle, about 3 minutes.
- Cook onion and garlic, add herbs. Add the onion to the paprika oil and turn the heat up to medium-low. 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.
- Add corn and peppers and cook. Add the corn and roasted peppers and combine. Cook until the bottom of the pan is very brown, about 5 minutes.
- Deglaze. 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.
- Add remaining ingredients and finish cooking. Add the spinach, fish and lemon juice, and cook just until the fish is cooked, about 5 minutes.
- Season. Season generously to taste with smoked sea salt, sugar and freshly ground black pepper.