Roman Fish Stew

This dish appears to have been extremely popular in the coastal regions of Britain at the end of the Roman conquest in 410 AD. There are cockle companies that have records of the Romans harvesting cockles in Wales. It would also have been natural to add other fish and the catch of the day to the pot. This authentic version of the dish includes my Roman Vinaigre©®, which adds fresh, clean acidity to draw out the best from the ingredients.

 

Serves: 4-6
Cooking time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • pinch of pepper flakes
  • 50 ml macadamia nut oil
  • 2 lb. squid, cleaned and cut into 1/2-inch rings (about 1lb when cleaned)
  • 250 ml dry white wine
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped, fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • pinch of salt
  • 250 mls water
  • 50 ml Roman Vinaigre©®
  • 1lb small hard-shell clams, cockles or mussels
  • 1 1/2lb assorted, firm-fleshed fish filets such as whiting, monkfish, turbot, red snapper and sea bass, cut into chunks
  • 4 slices coarse country bread, toasted and rubbed on one side with a garlic clove

Method:

  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté the garlic and pepper flakes in the olive oil until the garlic is golden (about 2 minutes).
  2. Using a slotted spoon, remove the garlic and discard. Add the squid and cook and stir until opaque (about 2 minutes).
  3. Add the Roman Vinaigre©® to de-glace, then add the wine and simmer (about 1 minute).
  4. Add the tomatoes, parsley, and salt and cook until the juices evaporate (about 10 minutes). Add the water and bring to a simmer. Add the clams (discard any that do not close to the touch) and fish, cover and cook until all the clams open and the fish is opaque throughout (about 5 minutes).
  5. Adjust the seasonings to taste.
  6. Place a bread slice in each warmed soup plate. Ladle the soup over the bread and serve.

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