Stews are the perfect comfort food. They’re warm, flavorful, and slurp-able: three essential criteria for a cozy meal.
This Mediterranean stew features fish (a heart-healthy protein) and saffron, a luxurious ingredient that adds vibrant red color and a distinct flavor. When buying saffron, don’t be intimidated by the price. It may seem costly per ounce; however, it is a potent spice and a little goes a long way. Most saffron recipes will only call for a few “threads” of saffron, or just a pinch of powdered saffron.
In this episode of To Eat With Love, our Mediterranean diet cooking show, nutritionist Fiorella DiCarlo, RD, CDN, shows how you’ll start making Saffron Fish Stew with olive oil, diced onion, and garlic. To give this saffron fish stew its Mediterranean diet twist, add crushed fennel seeds, coriander, and fresh thyme, which are common spices in this region. Finally, some bright grated orange rind and a bit of saffron will help you add unique flavor while keeping the salt content low.
The broth for this saffron fish stew is made from diced tomatoes, clam juice, and water. Tomatoes are a great source of vitamin A and lycopene, which is the antioxidant found in many red fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and guavas. Tomatoes have a high concentration of lycopene, and cooking the tomatoes actually makes the lycopene easier for your body to use.
The best part about this stew is that the fish can be added directly to the stew—no extra frying or roasting needed! This saffron fish stew uses flounder, which should be cubed into bite-size pieces. Flounder is a lean fish, has omega-3 fatty acids (the good fat!), and has a lower level of mercury than most kinds of fish.
The last ingredient for this fish stew recipe is white beans. This plant-based protein adds fiber, iron, and a starchiness that rounds out the stew. It’s also surprisingly good source of non-dairy calcium.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground fennel
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh orange rind
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can low sodium diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 pound founder fillet, cut into (4) 2-inch pieces
- Fresh thyme leaves [1 tsp]
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 thyme sprig
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
- 1 1/2 cups clam juice
- 1/8 teaspoon salt [2 dashes]
- 1 (14-ounce) can great northern beans, rinsed and drained [1 3/4 cup)