Mediterranean fisherman’s stew: leek, courgette and cod with chilli and lemon seasoning

Another delicious recipe from the Guardian Article, Eat Well For Less, click here for the full article.


Humble and sweet courgette (AKA Zucchini) and leek, a rich tomato sofrito sauce and subtle white fish highlighted with lemon, parsley and chilli. The plentiful courgettes and leeks become the base of a genuinely healthy meal. The combination of olive oil, tomato, garlic and onion forms the base of the sofrito sauce, a mainstay of Mediterranean cooking. When combined, these ingredients might have a synergistic, protective effect but, most importantly, they give that delicious flavour that transports you to the Italian Riviera. We’ve gone for cod because it’s the nation’s favourite, but experiment with your choice of oily fish.

Serves 4
courgettes 4 large
leeks 2 large
garlic 4 chunky cloves
extra-virgin olive oil
salt and black pepper
tomato passata 500g
dried chilli flakes
cod loin skinned and filleted, three nice chunks each
parsley a handful, including stalks
lemon wedges

Cut the washed courgettes and leeks into rounds (approx 2cm thick). Slice the garlic.

Heat a good glug of olive oil in a non-stick pan and add the sliced veg. Season with salt and pepper.

Turn the temperature down so that the veg sweat without colouring. Make a cartouche with some greaseproof paper (YouTube it for a quick tutorial) and pop on top. This slow-cooking process accentuates the natural sweetness of the veg. Check on them in 10 minutes and add a splash of water if drying out.

After about 20 minutes when the veg have softened add the passata. Sprinkle a pinch of dry chilli. Re-cover and cook until meltingly soft (around 40 minutes).

Cut the chunky fish fillet across the length with a sharp knife into scallops. Taste the sauce – grind some extra pepper and if required add more salt. Pop the fish scallops around the dish on top of the sofrito sauce. Re-cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Finely chop the parsley and sprinkle over the dish with extra chilli and a squeeze of lemon to finish.

Enjoy scarpetta style with a sensible mop of crusty wholemeal bread, eat light with green side salad or throw in some borlotti beans and cook as a stew.


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