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Italian Fish Stew - A Family Feast

Italian Fish Stew

Yield: 6-8 servings 1x
Prep: 20 minsCook: 20 minsTotal: 40 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup leeks, white part cleaned of all sand and diced
  • 1 cup sweet onion diced, such as Vidalia
  • 1/2 cup fresh fennel bulb, diced (if fennel is not available, add one teaspoon crushed aniseed when sautéing onions and leeks)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup Vermouth or dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups clam juice (2 8-ounce bottles)
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 28ounce can crushed tomatoes (We like Pastene San Marzano)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley chopped
  • 6 tablespoons fresh basil, divided
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 pound fresh zucchini quartered the long way then sliced into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1 pound firm white fish cut into large chunks (halibut, mahi-mahi, catfish, etc.)


  1. In a large heavy bottomed Dutch oven, melt butter in oil over medium heat and add leeks, onion, fennel and garlic. Sauté for about four minutes or until the onions start to get soft.
  2. Add vermouth and cook until evaporated.
  3. Add tomato paste and cook for one minute stirring so it doesn’t stick.
  4. Add clam juice, stock, tomatoes, salt, pepper, parsley, half the basil, red pepper flakes, zucchini and corn and cook until zucchini is tender, about 5-8 minutes.
  5. Add remaining basil and fish and stir just to incorporate. Heat the stew just to hot then remove from burner. Try not to stir too much so the fish does not break up.
  6. Serve with some nice crusty Italian bread.

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