Simple ingredients come together lovingly, to make this rustic, savory and deeply satisfying Fish Stew. For a quick weeknight meal, canned cannellini beans may be substituted in this recipe- and from start to finish, this entire recipe can be made in about 30 minutes. A simple nourishing wholesome Mediterranean-style meal.
But if so inclined, on a more leisurely day, try using dried cannellini beans, and enjoy the amazing texture these will bring to the stew.
Cannellini beans, in essence, are extra-large white beans, with firm texture and skin and a nutty, creamy interior, that hold their shape well in soups and stews. They are buttery and earthy in flavor, and full of fiber.
I love them because, even though they are low in fat, they add a very satisfying creaminess to dishes.
Sea Bass, a rich buttery fish pairs exceptionally well with the stew, and although it can be quite pricey, it’s worth the splurge. Other fish options include Alaskan cod, escolar, halibut, black cod or even scallops.
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Pan-Seared Sea Bass with Cannellini Bean Stew – A simple healthy Mediterranean -style meal that can be made in under 30 minutes. ( Allow 12 hour soaking period if using dry beans.)
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 cup peeled, diced carrot ( 2 carrots)
- 1 cup diced celery ( 2 stocks)
- 3–4 smashed and roughly chopped garlic cloves
- 2 cups diced tomatoes ( or one 1 can, diced)
- 3 cups cannellini beans (2 cans rinsed and drained) or 1 ½ cups dried beans, soaked overnight.
- 2 –4 cups chicken stock (2 cups if using canned beans, 4 cups if using dried beans)
- 1 cup water (only if using dried beans)
- 2 Tablespoons fresh sage (or thyme, or rosemary)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon cracked pepper
- 4 four-ounce sea bass fillets ( or thick-cut true cod, escolar, halibut, black cod)
- oil, salt and pepper for fish
- Italian parsley for garnish (or make leek oil or gremolata)
- In a medium-large heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, and stir for two minutes. Add carrots, celery and garlic, turn heat to medium and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- If using canned beans, add them, along with the 2 cups stock, herbs and tomatoes, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low, cover and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes. Alternatively, if using dried beans, make sure to soak them in ample water overnight or up to 24 hours. (This will prevent gastric issues and shorten cooking time. ) After the carrots, celery and garlic have been sautéing for 5 minutes. Add the dried, soaked beans and 4 cups stock. Add 1 additional cup water. Add the herbs and salt. Bring to a boil on high heat. Cover, turn to low heat and let simmer 1-1 1/2 hours, or until the beans are tender, adding more water if needed. Then add pepper and tomatoes. Continue simmering another ½ hour. If the stew is too brothy for you, leave the lid off and keep it at a gentle simmer, letting it reduce a bit- however, I really enjoy it a little brothy.
- Pan Sear the fish: Heat 1-2 T olive oil in a cast-iron skillet, over medium-high heat. Pat dry fish with paper towels and season generously with kosher salt and pepper. Sear each side until a golden crust forms on the fish, and turn the heat down to cook through to the desired doneness, taking care not to overcook.
- Place the stew in a wide shallow bowl, top with seared fish and garnish with fresh Italian parsley.
- If feeling fancy make Gremolata or Leek Oil and drizzle over top.
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