FOR the next few weeks I’ll be focussing on suitably seasonal recipes that are ideal for festive family gatherings, dinner parties and entertaining friends. Recipes that are a little bit more special and will really impress your guests.

Today’s recipe is a wonderfully comforting and nutritious fish stew that is full of bold flavour and colour. I use seabass and mussels as the main components of this day, both of which are in plentiful supply at this time of year.

The addition of some prawns, a selection of mixed fish and some vegetables turns it into a deliciously hearty meal.

However, it’s the rouille that really gives this dish the edge. This Provençale sauce is typically served with fish or added to stews so it’s a perfect addition to this recipe. I like to add roasted red pepper to my rouille which gives it a lovely sweet and slightly smoky flavour.

Don’t be put off by all the ingredients in this recipe, it is actually a very easy dish to create and looks and tastes really impressive. However, it’s important to use a good quality fish stock and very fresh fish for the best result. Serve with a glass of chilled, dry white wine.



(Serves 4)

600ml good quality hot fish stock

150ml dry white wine

2 carrots, finely chopped

2 sticks of celery, finely chopped

6 spring onions, sliced

8 shell-on prawns

2 fillets of seabass (or seabream)

100g mussels, cleaned

150g mixed fish (monkfish, hake, cod) cut into cubes

4 sliced of bread

1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

Salt & pepper

For the Rouille

3 large red peppers

2 cloves garlic

½ tsp. of smoked paprika

1 tbsp breadcrumbs

Olive oil


Pre-heat the oven to 200c/Gas 6/390F.

To create the rouille, cut the peppers in half and add to a roasting tin with the garlic, paprika and a drizzle of olive oil. Cook for 15 minutes then allow to cool before peeling the skin off the peppers. Puree the roasted garlic and peppers until smooth, adding 2-3 tbsp. olive oil to loosen it slightly then stir in the breadcrumbs. It should be spreadable but not runny. Season to taste then set aside.

Heat a little oil in a large pan and sweat the carrot, celery and onions for several minutes until softened but not browned.

Add the prawns and the fish stock and bring to a simmer before adding the mussels and the cubed fish. Stir in a heaped teaspoon of the red pepper rouille and season with salt and pepper, then cook for a further 3-4 minutes until the mussels have opened and the fish is cooked through.

While the stew is cooking, cut the fillets of fish in half and carefully score the skin using a sharp knife. Drizzle with a little oil and season lightly. Heat a frying pan until hot then place the fillets skin side down and cook for two minutes until the skin starts to crisp. Turn each fillet over then turn the heat off, the fish will continue to cook with the residual heat of the pan.

Meanwhile, toast the bread then spread each slice with the remaining red pepper rouille.

Spoon the stew into four bowls then top with the fillets of fish and a sprinkling of parsley. Serve with the rouille toast.