Fish stew

Contributed by Preston Maring, MD

Fish stew

I could call this Groundhog Day Fish Stew.  Some lessons in life have to be learned over and over and over.  One of those lessons is to focus when it matters.  What matters a lot in life is whether you use three tablespoons of cayenne pepper or three tablespoons of paprika. 

While talking to my wife last night while she and I were preparing dinner, I focused on her and not the stew.  Fortunately, I recognized the error before adding the fish. 

Re-dicing the celery and the onions felt like Groundhog Day.

The idea for this recipe came from a very unlikely source and needed substantial modification such as leaving out three cups of heavy cream.  It turned out to be maybe the best fish stew I have ever tasted. The amounts of fish, prawns, mussels, and clams are up to you as well as the mix of seafood used.

It takes time to prepare --- it is more of a "hang out in the kitchen" weekend dish.

Make all of it and freeze the leftovers taking any shellfish out of the shells.

Servings: 8


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 ounces turkey bacon, diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 medium russets, cut into 1 inch pieces and pre-cooked until almost done
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons mild paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Few drops Tabasco sauce
  • Few drops Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 8 ounces firm white fish like monkfish or lingcod
  • 4 ounces prawns, shelled
  • 1/2 pound clams
  • 1/2 pound mussels
  • 1 quart fish stock
  • Juice of half lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Small handful chopped parsley


  1. In olive oil, saute the celery, onion, turkey bacon, and thyme for about 10 minutes. 
  2. Stir in the flour, dill, cayenne, paprika, Tabasco, Worcestershire, bay leaf, sherry, and cook briefly.  Add the fish and prawns.  Cook briefly. 
  3. Add the fish stock and bring it to a simmer.  Add the shellfish and the potatoes.  Bring back to a simmer, cover, and cook until the shells open.  Mussels seem to open faster than clams so maybe you could add those first.  Maybe I just had reluctant clams. Regardless, discard unopened shellfish and the bay leaf before serving. 
  4. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.  Add lemon juice and parsley. 
  5. Serve hot with a loaf of crusty whole-grain bread and a big salad.

Nutrition information (per serving)

  • Calories: 223
  • Total fat: 8 g
  • Saturated fat: 2 g
  • Trans fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 54 mg
  • Sodium: 498 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 17 g
  • Dietary fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 20 g