Speedy Summer Fish Stew

Cooking time
Serves2 people
Speedy Summer Fish Stew

In this doddle of a dinner, plump pieces of mixed fresh fish go for a splash in a rich tomato sauce flecked with sweet fennel, fragrant summer basil and seasonal new potatoes, brightened with a zingy squeeze of lemon.

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  • 1 onion
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 250g new potatoes
  • 400g chopped tomatoes
  • 200ml hot water
  • A handful of basil, leaves only
  • 340g fish pie mix
  • 1 lemon
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1. Peel the onion and finely slice it. Trim the base and any woody tops off the fennel bulb (keeping any wispy fronds for later in the recipe). Halve the fennel and finely slice it. Peel the garlic clove and crush or finely chop it.
2. Pour 1 tbsp oil into a large pan and warm over a medium heat. Slide in the onion, fennel and garlic. Sprinkle in 1 tbsp fennel seeds and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Fry for 10 mins, stirring occasionally, till softened.
3. While the onion and fennel are frying, scrub the potatoes and chop them into small dice.
4. Stir the potatoes into the pan. Pour in the tin of chopped tomatoes. Half-fill the empty tomato tin with hot water (about 200ml) and swirl into the pan. Drop in half of the basil leaves. Stir well to mix. Bring to the boil, then cover the pan with a lid and simmer for 10-15 mins, till the potatoes are tender.
5. Stir the fish into the stew. Cover the pan and continue to cook for a further 5 mins, till the fish is cooked through.
6. Squeeze the lemon juice into the stew. Taste the sauce and add more salt and pepper if needed. Divide the stew between bowls and serve, garnished with the remaining basil leaves.
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Don't let the simplicity fool you, despite being super-quick this is the easiest, tastiest recipe ever. The best part is that you can make everything minus fish in advance, then reheat and just add the fish 10mins before you want to eat dinner. It's very flexible and can accomodate many other veg box bits and bobs, or stuff from the corners of the fridge. Tonight's has olives, french beans, carrots, celery and spinach in addition to recipe ingredients above. I often add a glass of white wine, orange or lemon zest, fresh thyme, parsley and/or bay leaves.