Spanish fish stew

Watching Rick Stein’s culinary tour around Spain on BBC2 inspired me to cook a Spanish inspired dish, as I love all those Mediterranean flavours. I decided to do a hearty fish stew using Hake (a member of the cod family). This is a versatile fish which has firm, meaty flesh that works well in a stew. You could use other white fish like Pollock, Coley and Whiting.

To give a contrast in textures, I added king prawns, chickpeas and potatoes and a good spoonful of Paprika, which is an essential in Spanish cooking, giving that characteristically smoky flavour.

Spanish fish stew

Ingredients (serves 4)

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 lemon, zest and juice
A good handful of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely sliced
250g new potatoes (or floury potatoes), cut into 2cm chunks
1 heaped teaspoon paprika
Pinch cayenne pepper
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 fish stock cube
200g raw king prawns
1 x 410g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
500g skinless hake fish fillets


Mix together the chopped parsley with half of the chopped garlic and lemon zest. Put to one side.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pan. Add the onion and potatoes, then cover the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes until the onion has softened. Add the remaining oil, garlic, paprika and cayenne pepper. Cook for a few minutes more.

Add the lemon juice and let it sizzle for several seconds, and then add the tomatoes, crumble in the stock cube and half a can of water. Cover the pan and leave to simmer on a low heat for 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

Stir through the prawns and chickpeas, then lay the fish so it half immersed in the stew. Cover the pan and cook for a further 10 minutes. When the fish is just cooked, remove from the heat, scatter with the parsley mix.

Serve with griddled (or toasted) slices of bread rubbed with garlic.

How was it?

This vibrantly coloured tomato stew was richly flavourful with a subtle smoky and spicy kick from the paprika. The fish was moist and flaky and the prawns were perfectly cooked. The potatoes (I used pink fir apple potatoes from my garden) were soft and creamy which worked well with the chickpeas. The topping of chopped parsley, lemon and garlic gave a fresh zesty finish to the stew, and the bread was ideal for dunking and mopping up the sauce.

This was a really enjoyable and delicious dinner.

Food facts

Paprika is made from ground, dried red chilli peppers.

It is believed that Christopher Columbus brought paprika back to Spain from the Americas.