An all-star recipe for fish stew with a Sicilian twist! The comfort of Italian flavors in one delicious stew cooked in a white wine-tomato broth with garlic, capers, raisins more!

Fish stew served in bowls with extra red pepper and raisins on side

In Italy, as in many parts of the Mediterranean basin, fish is often combined with tomatoes and other local ingredients to make delicious and quick one-pot-wonders like today's Sicilian-style fish stew.

I'll just come right out and say this now. This fish stew is best eaten with family and close friends because, if you eat it the right way--with crusty Italian bread to sop up the lovely sauce--it can get pretty messy. Finger-liking-good kinda messy!

Close-up of fish stew garnished with pine nuts and parsley

This fish stew recipe is quite simple, but the balance of flavors is truly incredible. From lovely and familiar aromatics like onions and garlic--providing the glorious start to this recipe--to a hint of sweetness from golden raisins balanced with tart capers. All the while, a white wine and tomato-based broth marries everything together.

Sea bass fillet was my choice for this fish stew recipe, but you can use any firm white-fleshed fillets here.

Fish stew served with a side of bread

I adapted this recipe from America's Test Kitchen's new book, The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook. Here's a great tip I picked up: To prevent the fish from overcooking and drying out, it's best to add the fish towards the end, when the stew is nearly done. Let it simmer until it's partially cooked, then turn the stove off and cover the pot to let the fish finish cooking by residual heat.

Add a salad!

If you like, add a simple green salad to start the meal or try one of these:

Kindey Bean and Cilantro Salad; Mediterranean Chickpea Salad; Greek Salad or Fattoush.

More recipes to try

Mediterranean-Style Steamed Clams

Easy Salmon Soup

One Pan Shrimp and Rice

Grilled Swordfish 

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Sicilian-Style Fish Stew Recipe


Description

An all-star recipe for fish stew with a Sicilian twist! The comfort of Italian flavors in one delicious stew cooked in a white wine-tomato broth with garlic, capers, raisins more!


Ingredients

Scale
  • Private Reserve extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 1 28-oz can whole peeled plum tomatoes, juice separated and reserved
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • 2 tbsp capers, rinsed
  • 2 lb skinless sea bass fillet, about 1 ½-inch thick, cut into large cubes
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves, stems removed
  • 3 tbsp toasted pine nuts, optional
  • Crusty Italian bread for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in 5-quart Dutch oven (like this one) over medium heat. Add onions, celery, and a little salt and pepper (about ½ teaspoon each). Cook, stirring regularly, until softened (about 4 minutes). Add thyme, red pepper flakes and garlic and cook briefly until fragrant (about 30 more seconds).
  2. Now, stir in the white wine and reserved tomato juice from can. Bring to a simmer, and cook until the liquid is reduced by about ½. Add the tomatoes, vegetable broth, raisins, and capers. Cook for 15-20 minutes over medium heat until flavors combine.
  3. Pat the fish dry and season lightly with salt and pepper. Insert the fish pieces into the cooking liquid, and give everything a gentle stir so that the fish pieces are nicely covered in the cooking liquid. Bring to a simmer and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove the Dutch oven from the heat and cover. Let sit off heat for another 4-5 minutes so that the fish will finish cooking. Fish should be flaky when gently pulled apart with a paring knife. Finally, stir in the chopped parsley.
  4. Ladle the hot fish stew into serving bowls, top each with a few toasted pine nuts, if you like. Serve with your favorite crusty bread! Enjoy!

Notes

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 35 mins
  • Category: Entree/Soup
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean / Sicilian

Keywords: Sicilian Fish Stew, Stew, Fish Stew, Sea Bass

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More Recipes to Try:

Mediterranean Fish Fillet, Shakshuka Style

Baked Sole Fillet Recipe 

Mediterranean Wholre Roasted Baked Red Snapper

Greek Shrimp Recipe with Tomato and Feta

 

Sicilian Fish Stew Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish. Italian comfort in a bowl! My favorite! Fish fillet pieces cooked in a white wine and tomato broth with garlic, capers and more! Super easy and quick recipe. See it on TheMediterraneanDish.com

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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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Comments

  1. I loved this recipe. Easy to make and also to make variations. I used 1/2 cup of fennel instead of the celery for a more herbaceous flavor, used corvina and salmon and added some clams. I also used fresh thyme and topped it with toasted pine nuts. I especially loved the sweetness the raisins added to the dish. Thanks for the recipe. I'll make this again.

  2. My wife and I are spending some time on the tiny Sicilian island of Ortigia (Siracusa). We bought fresh ingredients in the street market an hour ago and just sat down for a bowl of this delicious stew - bream, clams, mussels, large shrimp, squid, fresh tomatoes that I blanched, peeled and chopped, some local wine... Wow. So good. Thank you.

  3. I made this tonight because I had a fresh whole sea bass that needed to be cooked ASAP. I fileted the fish and used the head, bones tail to make a fish stock. I didn’t have any wine so I used a few tbsp of cider vinegar and water as an alternative. The only other real deviation was to add 3 diced potatoes and some leftover cooked cannellini beans I had in the fridge. A little extra thyme and a few handfuls of chopped spinach went in with the parsley because it needed some green contrast. I poached the branzino filets and added about a 1lb of flounder I found in my freezer because I felt like it would have been too lean otherwise. Excellent adaptation of the original recipe!!

  4. What a delicious recipe! The sauce has a bit of a kick to it, yet it all comes together in a fresh and savory stew. I used a red bass instead, and that added a nice, rich taste to it. Totally recommend it. I can't wait to bring the leftovers to my grandmother 🙂 <3

    1. Hello, Terri. You can probably try a quality white grape juice that's not too sweet...I am not sure if you can find sugarless or unsweetened grape juice, but that may be ideal. And I would start with a lesser amount like 1/3 cup and go from there as you taste. Enjoy!

  5. I have made this twice. And will make it again. It is simple and delish! Oh, and i threw some spinach in the second time because i had some to use uo before it want bad. Chopped it small and tossed in with the parsley. : )

  6. Love this recipe and have made it a half dozen times with some modifications - if you will indulge me!
    Substitute fish stock (BTB) or a bottle clam juice for the chic stock
    Add a cut up potato in the original sauté mix
    I like chopped tomato's better than the whole tomatoes and half mild rotel adds the zing to eliminate the red pepper
    I've used the inexpensive frozen cod filets and they hold up well. I usually include frozen shrimp (tails removed) for added texture variety.
    Have added Kale in past for more nutrition and it is good but better without.
    The capers and raisins are genius and elevate the dish.

    Thank you for this recipe.

  7. Great recipe. Added a bell pepper with onion. I had 2 lbs sea bass, added large sea scallops and large prawns. Pricey!
    Also added small bag of baby spinach. Only had half the capers the recipe called for which is unfortunate. Golden raisins and capers are great ingredients for this. Probably first dish I had where the capers really fit in. Crusty Italian bread to mop it up!

  8. WOW, Fish was TENDER & FLAVORFUL!!! This was my first time making fish outside my Asian comfort zone. (Chinese Steamed Fish w/ Dried Mushrooms & Ginger/Scallion Oil AND Japanese Baked Miso Fish are my only go-to's for decades 🥺). What a brilliant recipe technique -- the simmering of fish submerged in sauce for 4-min, then heat off & covered an add'l 4-min... to complete cooking Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this secret! Used frozen Chilean Sea Bass (sitting in freezer 1+ year. Changed up ingredients: 2x garlic/onions/celery/capers (wanted a "meatier" outcome, since Stew was standalone w/out bread -- keto limitation); substituted dried GoldenBerries (tart berry from Peru) for the Golden Raisins. So excited to have a 3rd Fish recipe in my rotation!

  9. I made this last night and cut recipe in half since there were only 2 for dinner. I had cod so that is what I used. Absolutely delicious and I will be making it again and again.

  10. Absolutely delicious. I used cod, added spinach and used currants instead of raisins as that's what I had on hand. That pop of sweetness is incredible. This will be my go-to fish stew recipe moving forward, thank you!

  11. I enjoyed preparing it and we LOVED eating it!

    I like to do with what I have on hand so I often use substitutes. I did not have any celery left but I had a leftover piece of leek, and a carrot, so that is what I used to make the base. I used grouper fillets AND added shrimp + a small jar of clams I wanted to use up from the pantry ; I also substituted thyme for rosemary (which I have a lot of). We loved the variety of seafood and the earthy flavor of the leek was a nice touch, balanced with the sweetness of the carrot.

    I am impressed with your recipes and coming back often to your site. Thank you!
    Flo

      1. Looks delicious. I am going to try tonight with Orange Roughy fish. We have a lot so need to use it up! Can’t wait.