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Theo Randall's fish stew

Theo Randall / 03 February 2016

Michelin-starred chef Theo Randall shares his luxurious recipe for fish stew.

Fish stew
Theo Randall's fish stew

Cooking time

1 hour




  • 20g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 500g sea bass fillets
  • 200g monkfish fillets
  • 200g John Dory fillets
  • 1 cooked lobster, about 500g
  • 300g fresh clams (palourde)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 2 small carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 large fennel bulb, finely chopped
  • Garlic cloves, 2 sliced and a quarter of a clove finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes or 700ml tomato passata
  • 500ml fresh fish stock
  • 200g potatoes, peeled
  • A pinch of saffron threads
  • 100ml white wine
  • Leaves from a small bunch of parsley, finely chopped


I love making this dish. Once you have prepared the fish stew base, the rest is easy. Just make sure the base (the tomato-fish broth) is not too thick, otherwise the fish will cook unevenly. The lobster is essential because of the flavour it adds. The stew is finished with chopped garlic and fresh parsley at the end.

Put the porcini to soak in 100ml of hot water until softened; drain the mushrooms (reserve the soaking liquid) and roughly chop.

While the porcini are soaking, prepare the seafood. Cut all the fish fillets into 3cm pieces. Remove the head from the lobster and pull off the claws; crack the claws. Cut the tail lengthways in half and then across in half. Put the clams in a colander and rinse thoroughly under cold running water, shaking vigorously; discard any clams that remain open. Set the seafood aside in a cool place.

Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a large pan and cook the onion, celery, carrots and fennel bulb with the sliced garlic and fennel seeds until softened. Add the chopped porcini with their soaking liquid (leave any sediment behind in the bowl) and the tomatoes or passata. Cook for about 20 minutes to reduce by half, stirring occasionally. Add the fish stock and cook for another 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the potatoes into thumb-sized pieces. Put them in a pan of salted water with the saffron and bring to the boil; drain and reserve.

Remove the tomato-fish broth from the heat. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Purée in the pan with a stick blender (or blitz in a food processor). Keep hot.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a large, shallow pan with a tight-fitting lid. Add the fish and clams along with the white wine. Cover and cook for one minute. Jiggle the pan to help open the clams (if any are not open after one minute, throw them away). Add the smooth tomato-fish broth and saffron potatoes. Cover with the lid again and bring to the boil, then add the quartered lobster tail and claws. Simmer for a few minutes.

Mix together the parsley and finely chopped garlic. Stir into the stew and heat, covered, for one minute. Serve in large bowls.

Theo Randall on Saga Pearl II

Foodies won’t want to miss Saga’s tasty food-themed cruise aboard Saga Pearl II this summer – which includes live cooking and chat with Michelin-starred chef Theo Randall!

And Saga have chosen the perfect cruise for him to enhance – a voyage around the Mediterranean taking in Rome, Florence, Barcelona, and Lisbon. It also offers on-board cookery demonstrations, talks, tastings, themed dining events and so much more.

Theo says: “I’ll be hosting cookery demonstrations on board, which will be lots of fun, teaching the fine art of making fresh pasta. There’ll also be a wine tasting, so we can match certain foods to wines. It’s going to be good food, good wine and great company!”

This culinary cruise departs from Dover in July, but until that time, why not warm up in wintertime and take a look at this exclusive recipe?

Find out about Saga's Mediterranean cruises


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.