This is an original fisherman’s stew, originated in Genoa, Italy. It is a wonderfully fragrant dish with an explosion of flavours, so don’t be afraid to experiment with whatever selection of fish and shellfish you can get hold of. The tomato mixture can be made a couple of days in advance and reheated before adding the fish, taking care not to overcook the fish.

Serves 6-8


4 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves stripped
200g carton Catalan World Pesto
900ml (1 1/2 pints) fresh fish stock (from a carton is fine)
1x15oz tin of whole tomatoes chopped
3 anchovy fillets (optional)
60 g finely chopped walnuts (optional)
½ glass white wine
Pinch of sugar
6 x 360g (12oz) monkfish chunks
3 small sea bass or bream, scaled and filleted
12 squid rings, about 150g (5oz) in total
12 whole raw king prawns
12 mussels and or clams, cleaned


100g (4oz) butter, softened
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 thin French baguette
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Heat the olive oil a large casserole pot. Add the onion, carrots, garlic and thyme and sauté over a low heat for about 5 minutes until the onion is softened but not coloured, stirring occasionally.

Stir the Catalan World Pesto into the pan and cook for another minute or so, then pour in the fish stock, white wine, tomato (anchovy, walnuts) and bring to a simmer. Season to taste and add the sugar. Reduce the heat to its lowest setting and cover with a lid.

Cook the sauce very slowly for 1 hours until well flavoured and slightly reduced. Remove from the heat and either use immediately or leave to cool and store covered with Clingfilm in the fridge for up to 48 hours.

When ready to serve, preheat the tomato sauce to a simmer and carefully add the monkfish, sea bass or bream fillets, squid, prawns and mussels. Cook gently for 5-10 minutes until all the fish is tender, the mussels have opened and the prawns are pink.

Meanwhile, make the garlic croutons. Place the butter in a bowl and mix in the garlic and parsley. Season to taste. Cut the French baguette on the diagonal and arrange on a grill rack. Toast on both sides and then spread over the garlic butter. Ladle the fish stew into wide-rimmed bowls and serve with the garlic croutons on the side.

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