Fisherman’s stew

Fisherman’s stew

My Italian Kitchen
Chris Middleton

This is a dish I created for Heston Blumenthal. I wanted to showcase the depth of flavour you can get out of the whole fish, using all the bits from head to tail. The broth for this stew is just out of this world. It’s so packed with flavour, it takes me back to sitting on a dock in Italian coastal towns. It’s fresh from the ocean, straight to your plate, and served with crusty bread to soak up all the incredible flavours.


Quantity Ingredient
10 raw prawns
140ml grape seed oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 leek, roughly chopped, white part only
2 carrots, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, 2 roughly chopped, 1 whole
2 rainbow trout, cleaned and filleted, bones reserved
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 litre fish stock
sea salt flakes
8 sardines, cleaned and filleted
12 slices Ciabatta bread
lemon zest, finely grated, to garnish
lime zest, finely grated, to garnish
flat-leaf parsley, to garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  2. Peel the prawns, leaving the tails intact. Reserve the shells for the stew and the heads for the infusing oil. Cut the prawns in half lengthways and devein. Set aside.
  3. To make the stew, pour a good drizzle of the grape seed oil in a saucepan over a high heat. Add the onion, leek, carrots and roughly chopped garlic and cook until browned, about 3–4 minutes. Add the trout bones, reserved prawn shells and tomatoes and cook until browned, a further 5–8 minutes. Add the stock, bring to the boil, and allow to boil for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, strain, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and set aside, keeping warm.
  4. Meanwhile, pour 80 ml of the grape seed oil into a frying pan and set over a medium heat. Add the reserved prawn heads and cook until the oil is flavoured, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain, reserving the prawn oil.
  5. Return the frying pan to a medium heat, add the prawn meat and the remaining grape seed oil and cook, turning halfway, until just cooked through, about 2–3 minutes. Remove from the heat, season and set aside.
  6. Cut about 2 cm of the flesh off at the tail end of the trout fillets, leaving the skin intact. Roll up the trout fillets, using the tail skin to seal the fillet in place and place upright on a lined baking tray. Bake until almost cooked through, about 3 minutes. Add the sardines to the tray and bake until cooked through, about another minute. Remove from the oven, season and set aside.
  7. Cook the bread slices on a hotplate over a high heat, pressing down and turning. Remove from the plate, rub with the garlic clove and set aside.
  8. To serve, place a trout fillet in the centre of each serving bowl. Place the sardines and prawns around the trout. Pour the stew over the seafood, drizzle with prawn oil and garnish with the zest and parsley. Serve with the garlic-rubbed crusty bread.
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