Preparation time 12 minutes
Cooking time about 25 minutes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon smoked paprika or hot smoked paprika
pinch of saffron threads
350 g (11½ oz) monkfish fillet, cut into chunks
250 g (8 oz) red mullet fillets, cut into large chunks
3 tablespoons dry or medium-dry Madeira
250 ml (8 fl oz) fish or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons tomato purée
400 g (13 oz) can chopped tomatoes
2 bay leaves
750 g (1½ lb) live mussels, scrubbed and debearded (discard any that don’t shut
when tapped) or 250 g (8 oz) cooked shelled mussels
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons chopped parsley, to garnish
Read also: RUSTIC TUSCAN BEAN STEW
Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium-low heat, add the onion and garlic and cook gently for 8–10 minutes or until softened.
Stir in the paprika and saffron and cook for a further minute. Stir in the fish, then pour over the Madeira. Add the stock, tomato purée, tomatoes and bay leaves and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
Stir in the live mussels, cover and cook over a low heat for about 3 minutes or until they have opened. Discard any that remain closed. Alternatively, if using cooked shelled mussels, simmer the stew for 2–3 minutes more, or until the fish is cooked and tender, then stir in the cooked mussels. Cook for 30 seconds or until the mussels are heated through and piping hot.
Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with the parsley. Serve immediately with crusty bread.
For pan-fried red mullet with tomato sauce, cook the onion and garlic with the spices as above. Pour in the Madeira and add the tomatoes, finely grated rind of ½ lemon, a pinch of sugar and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 15–20 minutes. Heat 1–2 tablespoons olive oil in a nonstick frying pan, add 500 g (1 lb) red mullet fillets, skin side down, and fry for 2–3 minutes or until crisp. Cover, reduce the heat and cook for a further 2 minutes or until the fish is just cooked through. Serve with the tomato sauce