Chef Melba Wilson's Fish Stew


Chef Melba Wilson's Fish Stew

  • 2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Cups Chopped Spanish Onion
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 Tsp Kosher Salt
  • 2 Cups Chopped Celery
  • 2 Cups Carrots Peeled and chopped
  • 2 Cups Fennel Chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Capers Drained and Rinsed
  • 1/2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 1/2 Tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1/4 Crush Saffron Threads
  • 1/2 Tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 4 Cups White Wine
  • 1 Can Whole Peeled Plum Tomatoes Drained and chopped (or 10 to 12 fresh tomatoes, when in season)
  • 1 Bottle Clam Juice
  • 2 Quarts Fish Stock
  • 4 Cups Peeled and Cubed White Potatoes
  • 1 1/2 Pound Fillets of Grouper, Cod, Halibut, or Any Other Meaty White-Fleshed Fish Cut into cubes
  • 1 1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Curly Parsley For garnish



In a large stockpot, heat the oil.  Add the onion, bay leaves, and 1 teaspoon of the salt.  Saute’ until the onion is almost translucent, then add the celery, carrots, fennel, capers, thyme, saffron, pepper, and the remaining teaspoon of salt.  Saute’ for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.   

Pour in the wine and add the tomatoes.  Bring to a boil and reduce by half, 30 to 40 minutes. 

Add the clam juice and fish stock, bring back to a boil, turn down the heat, and simmer.  Add the potatoes and cook until almost tender, 10 to 15 minutes.  Remove the two bay leaves and discard. 

Add the cubed fish and cook no more that 30 seconds.  Remove the stew from the heat, ladle into bowls, and garnish each portion with chopped parsley.