Fish Stew

fish stew
Photo: Charles Watson

This Basque seafood stew features bay scallops, red snapper, and clams in their shells; tomato wedges, tiny Spanish olives, and a garnish of chopped fresh parsley round out the flavors.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced ¼ inch thick

  • cup pitted small brown olives, such as empeltre (about 40)

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced into rounds

  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh oregano

  • ½ teaspoon finely grated orange zest

  • ½ cup dry white wine

  • 1 medium tomato, cut into ½-inch wedges

  • One 8-ounce bottle clam juice

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 cup low-sodium canned chicken broth

  • ½ pound skinless red snapper fillet, cut into 2-inch pieces

  • 8 large clams, cleaned and scrubbed (about 14 ounces)

  • ½ pound (about 8) bay scallops, muscle removed


  1. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion; saute, stirring frequently, until it is lightly golden, 2 to 3 minutes.

  2. Add olives, garlic, jalapeno, lime juice, oregano, and orange zest; cook 1 minute. Add wine; continue cooking until it is reduced by half, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

  3. Add tomato, clam juice, the water, and chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and add seafood. Cover, and simmer until snapper and scallops are opaque and clams have opened, about 12 minutes. (Discard any clams that do not open.) Serve hot, ladled into soup bowls. Garnish with parsley.

Cook's Notes

Although we used steamer clams, smaller varieties such as cockles or littleneck can be used for a more refined stew. Spanish empeltre olives are slightly sweet and very succulent. Picholine olives work just as well.

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