(photo by Tara Fisher)
This recipe fulfils all of our original fundamental base criteria: (1) delicious, (2) simple accessible everyday ingredients, (3) quick and convenient to prepare, (4) added health benefits.
As warmer seasons are on the horizon, the humble and cheap courgette becomes plentiful. Combined with the even more humble leek and cooked in a sofrito sauce you have the foundation of a genuinely healthy meal without nebulous ‘superfoods’ or evangelical “cauliflower crust pizza” concepts. In fact the combination of olive oil, tomato and garlic which forms the base of sofrito has been specifically implicated as one of the potential advantages of the Mediterranean diet. It has even been used in dietary clinical trials as a measure of a Mediterranean diet and there has been bench interest in the synergistic qualities when these ingredients are combined.
For this recipe we have used cod but any chunky white fish or firm monkfish would be ideal. Although there are certainly issues with sustainability, cod is ingrained in the UK public subconscious as demonstrated by the continued nation’s favourite — cod and chips. Nevertheless Icelandic cod is a good product. Additionally although we appreciate that a traditional Fisherman’s Stew will contain less popular fish, we are realists — a lot of people don’t eat fish because of bones and are nervous around whole fish. Therefore in this case we are recommending fresh, meaty fillets from the fishmonger which you can then cut into ‘scallops’ or ‘goujons’. This also means that a little can go a long way in stew like this.
Finally there are 3 options with this meal:
- scarpetta style — eat with a sensible portion of crusty whole meal bread to mop-up the sauce
- light style — eat as it is for a light summer dinner or lunch, perhaps with a side salad of greens
- even healthier style — throw in some tinned, tetra-packed or fresh borlotti beans and cook in the stew
. . . and the perfect finish — a drizzle of fresh lemon and a sprinkle of dried chilli flakes to lift and accentuate the flavours.