Provencal Fish Stew

This recipe is a slightly modified version of one that I found in New York Times Cooking. The idea with this was to amp up the vegetables and tamp down the seafood. The original recipe called for chick peas, which are fine, but Laura dislikes their grainy texture. Instead I substituted butter beans, which are mature Lima beans and have a nice creamy texture.

It called for vegetable stock, fish stock or water. I simply suggest using bottled clam juice for the broth. The anchovies, olives, capers, garlic, and tomato paste add a kind-off puttanesca  vibe to the seasoning. The Pernod (licorice flavored liquor) lets you know you are definitely in the South of France.

For those of you who are a bit squeamish about squid, don’t use it! Any seafood will do. Laura likes Atlantic cod, shrimp, mussels, scallops, and oysters. I don’t make it with all of these at the same time, you can if you want, hey it’s the USA, you can do anything you want. I’m just saying I normally use just two or three kinds of fish.

Serve this with slices of toasted, crusty French bread.

Bush’s Best Baby Butter Beans, 16 oz (12 cans)

I like to get anchovies in a jar. That way you can just take as many as you need. They keep in the fridge quite well.

“Agostino Recca” Fillets of Anchovies 8.1 oz

Same with tomato paste. It is a waste to open a can when you only need a tablespoon or two. Get it in a tube and use only what you need.

Amore Tomato Paste – 4.5 oz ( 2 Pack )

Author: Jim Kirkley

Serve with toasted French baguette slices.

Serves: 4

Provencal Fish Stew


1 cup, butter beans
1/4 cup, olive oil – divided
1 cup, fresh bread crumbs
Salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon, minced garlic
1/4 cup, black olives – halved
1 tablespoon, capers
3 anchovy fillets
2 tablespoons, tomato paste
1/2 cup, white wine
1 tablespoon, Pernod – (licorice liquor)
1 pound, baby spinach
2 bottles, clam juice
1 pinch, red chili flakes
8 ounces, squid – roughly chopped
8 ounces, shrimp – roughly chopped


  1. Drain butter beans and rinse.
  2. Put 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, add bread crumbs, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until they’re crisp and toasted, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from pan.
  3. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the skillet; increase heat to medium-high. When oil is hot, add garlic, olives, capers and anchovies. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, a minute or two. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until it darkens slightly, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add the wine and the Pernod and cook for a few minutes more.
  5. Start adding spinach a handful at a time; keep stirring until all the spinach fits in the pan and starts to release its water; sprinkle with a little more pepper, then add the stock, butter beans and red chili flakes. Adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently but steadily, then stir in the squid and the shrimp. Cook until the seafood is just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Divide among bowls, sprinkle with bread crumbs and serve.

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