Make Alison Roman’s quick weeknight fish stew with olives

This recipe from Alison Roman's 'Dining In' is a highly cookable and delicious dish that's perfect for a quick and easy dinner


Make Alison Roman’s quick weeknight fish stew with olives

Serves 4

Preparation time 15 minutes

Cooking time 45 minutes

This recipe is admittedly a little basic, but sometimes, basic is good. Basic is comfortable. Basic is a garlicky, white winey, tomatoey stock that will take care of your expensive seafood, cook it gently, and make everything taste so delicious that you won't even be mad that fish costs so much. Basic is weeknight friendly.

The important lesson here is that a good base will give you the flexibility you need to riff. Add some dried chorizo to the olive oil to start, or a tablespoon of harissa at the end for something spicier. Use clams if you don't like prawns, scallops if you are feeling fancy. If you stick with basic, the possibilities are endless. – Alison Roman


  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 large or 2 medium-sized shallots, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 chillies de árbol, crumbled, or ½ teaspoon crushed chilli flakes
  • 2 sprigs thyme, or 2 fresh bay leaves (optional)
  • 80ml dry white wine
  • 450g tomatoes, quartered, or 400g tin whole peeled tomatoes, drained
  • 225g raw prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 350g skinless flounder, tilapia, halibut, cod or rockfish fillets, cut into 10cm pieces
  • 450g mussels, scrubbed and rinsed
  • 40g roughly chopped oil-cured black olives
  • 30g roughly chopped parsley, dill, coriander or tarragon


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan or large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and 3 garlic cloves, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallot has browned and the garlic is toasted, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add the chilli, thyme (if using) and wine, and let simmer until the wine has reduced by about half, about 4 minutes.
  3. Crush the tomatoes with your hands and add them to the pan along with any juices. Add 1 litre water and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Simmer everything together, seasoning it along the way, until the broth has thickened slightly and all the flavours have come together, 15-20 minutes.
  5. Season the prawns and fish with salt and pepper. Add the mussels to the pan and cover. Once the mussels have started to open, after about 5 minutes, carefully add the prawns, followed by the fish. Cover the saucepan and cook until the prawns are bright pink, the fish is opaque white, and everything is cooked through, 6-8 minutes. Add the olives and remove from the heat.
  6. Meanwhile, finely chop the remaining garlic clove, add it to the chopped herbs, and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve the stew with a drizzle of olive oil and the herbs sprinkled over, alongside obscenely garlicky bread, a good salad, and lots and lots of wine.

Do ahead: The base for the stew can be made 5 days ahead and refrigerated. When ready to add the seafood, bring to a simmer and proceed.