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Provencal Saffron-Tomato Stew with Halibut

Provencal Saffron-Tomato Stew with Halibut

This makes a perfect dinner party dish and has the wonderfully rich and intense flavors so typical of Provencal cooking.  

Cooking time 45 to 50 minutes

Serves 4

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

1 head fennel, trimmed and chopped

pinch chili flakes

4 tablespoons Pernod or other dry anise liquor (optional)

14 oz can chopped tomatoes

½ pint fish or vegetable stock

large pinch of saffron strands

2 bay leaves

2 (6-oz each) halibut fillets

50 g (2oz) pitted black olives, halved

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

salt and pepper


  • Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the onion, garlic, thyme, fennel and chili flakes for 10 minutes until softened. Add the Pernod and boil rapidly until the liquid is almost totally evaporated.

  • Add the tomatoes, stock, saffron, bay leaves and salt and pepper, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

  • Cut the halibut into bite-size chunks and add to the stew with the olives and parsley, cover and cook for a further 5-6 minutes until the halibut is cooked. Adjust seasonings and serve with some freshly cooked spaghetti.

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