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

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. Full disclosure: this is going to be one of those reviews with a lot of substitutions, but it came out so fabulous that I had to comment.

    I was looking for a creative way to stretch 3 white bass I caught for a house of 11 and decided to try doubling this recipe. I used San Marzano tomatoes, added some celery seed because my housemates forgot to pick up celery, and used nettle broth I had left over from foraging in place of regular vegetable broth (SUPER flavorful- an easy thing to start foraging, and something I highly recommend). The real winner, though, was the pickled pine tips I subbed for the capers. They add an amazing lemony flavor that suits the fish to a T.

    So. Did I make the recipe as written? No. My version's a little more wild. But I give props to the original recipe for being so adaptable to my favorite spring ingredients.

  2. This was a very good recipe, and quick. Was disappointed that I had neither raisins nor capers. added carrots but that doesn't ahve the sharpness needed here.

    Used Tilapia and it works well because it has very little flavor on its own.. breaded it first.
    Added Orzo to the stew and it really filled it out as a one bowl meal!

    Thank you!

  3. I made this soup for dinner tonight. Our store only had perch fish that was fresh so I used it instead of Seabass. Instead of oil (apparently we were out of it at home!) I used humanly sourced red palm oil which I think really added something extra to the stew. But the rest I followed the recipe to the t . It turned out so good , omg ! Definitely making it next time and next time. Thank you so much for this recipe 😉

      1. I am gluten free. Do you think I could add potator cubes to this stew instead of serving with bread?

      2. I can't eat gluten but there's lots of decent gluten free bread out there. Bagels also.

  4. I can't rave enough about this recipe!! I like that it can be a really fancy splurge with good seafood or just a simple, inexpensive way to utilize frozen seafood you already have. It is so simple in execution that when you taste the final product...it tastes like you went to a restaurant and spent $30. The capers? Totally the unsung hero of this whole thing!

    I've made this a couple times and both times came out amazing. I didn't have access to sea bass, so I used shrimp, tilapia, and mussels. I cooked the shrimp and tilapia according to the recipe and threw in the mussels when I turned off the heat and covered for about 5 minutes. Crispy crunchy bread is a must...you will want to soak up every single bit of that delicious broth!!

  5. This dish was fantastic. I felt transported to southern Italy or Greece. I made this with sea bass, shrimp, and calamari and upped the red pepper flakes. A crusty bread and nice crisp bottle of wine, plus a side salad rounded out the meal, but the fish stew was the ⭐️

  6. Fabulous! A simple and richly flavored dish and as healthy as can be. I skipped the green peppers, we don’t get along well;-) I added a good pinch of oregano, used regular raisins I had on hand and haddock. Also, I made the soup base a little earlier in the day then brought it back to just to a boil and added the fish just before dinner, following the rest of the recipe. It seems many tomato based things are sometime yummier after cooling and reheating. Can’t wait to make this again!

  7. This was a great recipe, I do not like raisins so I didn't include. I also love capers so I added an extra tablespoon and also added chopped orange bell pepper with the onions and celery, and finally I added 2 pinches of red pepper flakes because I like it spicy. The base recipe is awesome and so customizable!

      1. Just had this one for dinner.
        Super delicious!!
        ( p.s My fiance suggested to add smoked paprika and it turned out amazing!!)

  8. Thank you so much for a fabulous recipe, I am just about to cook again, in bulk, and freeze down for convenience.

  9. Loved it! We substituted half the fish with shrimp. We didn’t have any parsely or pine nuts but overall excellent flavor. Thank you!

  10. Good morning,
    this does sound very good. I love seafood. Could I use a seafood mix? Like shrimp, cod, kalamri and scallops?
    Love your recipes. Thank you for working so hard at sharing them with us!!
    Stay healthy and God bless,
    Eva

    1. Hi Eva, thank you! Yes, i think you can do that here but remember that shrimp and other seafood will cook at different rates. Large chunks of fish will take a little bit longer.

  11. This sounds delicious and I can’t wait to make it. Just one question - in the Nutrition Info why is the fat and carb count so high? The dish just has tomatoes onion and celery so 47 carb grams seems very high, as does the fat count for a fish dish.

    1. Hi there! Thanks so much for checking on this, we were able to find the calculation error and have updated it. This should be closer.

    1. You can try a 1/2 cup of white grape juice (a kind that is sugar free, if possible) plus a little vinegar or lemon juice.

  12. Actually this was really nice. I don't normally like capers or raisins (sultanas) but mixed in with the recipe I didn't notice. The kids even ate it! It was flavourful but not spicy even though I added a tad more chilli flakes. I also added in more vegetable stock than in the recipe later on so it stayed wet for dipping and soaking bread into it. I mixed the parsley in towards the end of the simmering so some the of flavour went through, didn't just stir it in at the end. I used pink ling fillets and the fishiness was cooked away with the broth so not too fishy. I served with toasted bread roll slices to dip into the sauce. Pine nuts actually added a nice touch at the end.

    1. Anne-Marie, A suggestion on the fish: always, always brine the fish before cooking. You will not have to worry about the "fishiness."

  13. What would be a better substitution for the canned plum Tomatoes - fresh tomatoes or crushed fire roasted tomatoes?

    1. I added 2 tins of crushed/diced tomatoes after draining off the juice and it was still tasty. In other recipes I've done fresh tomatoes skinned etc, but teh tinned tomatoes here in Australia are just as nearly good as the fresh ones.