© David Loftus
aegean kakavia (beautiful fish stew)
Whats great about this recipe is that you can use whatever fish you like. Sea bass, wrasse, pickerel, pollock, bream and red mullet all work well. You could even use lobster if you have it and feel like splashing out! Just talk to your fishmonger and get him to recommend a few of his freshest fish. Greek fishermen make this out at sea, using whatever theyve hauled into their boat that day, and cooking it in seawater. Thats how I learnt to make this. Because their water is ready salted they don't need any seasoning at all to achieve a perfectly delicious stew. Genius! Try to use a mixture of fish, so you get all sorts of different flavours and colours in this wonderful stew.
Heat a good lug of olive oil in a large pan on a medium heat. Add the onions and celery and cook for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft but not coloured.
Add the tomatoes, potatoes and bay leaves and pour in the stock. Season lovingly with salt and pepper and bring it all to the boil. Reduce to a low heat and simmer for 15 minutes. At this point, add your fish fillets and bring back to the boil, then reduce to a medium-low heat and simmer for a further 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the fish is cooked through and flakes apart. Stir in the lemon juice and herbs, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, then have a quick taste to make sure you've got a good balance of acidity, freshness and seasoning and serve with chunks of rustic bread.
from Jamie does...
2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
4 sticks of celery, trimmed and roughly chopped
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
3 beef tomatoes, roughly chopped
500g potatoes, peeled and cut into 3-4cm chunks
3 fresh bay leaves
1 litre vegetable stock, preferably organic
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
700g fresh fish fillets (see introduction), scaled and pin-boned
juice of 1 lemon
a small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
a small bunch of fresh dill, roughly chopped
Greek extra virgin olive oil
a loaf of rustic bread, to serve