One spring at a friend's house on Cape Cod, I found a lot of fresh ginger in the fridge. My friend's husband had just stopped by the local fish market, so I combined the fish and ginger with a can of tomatoes to make a quick and easy spring stew. We absolutely loved the results.
The fresh ginger won't knock you over the head with its intensity in this stew. It adds warmth and its distinctive gingery flavor to the pot, but it's a fairly subtle flavor.
The fish is still the main star – which it should be, considering how expensive seafood is!
Because I live in New England, where firm-fleshed white fish rule the seafood case, I have my choice of halibut, haddock, hake, pollock, and more. Choose firm-fleshed white fish that’s local to your area, if possible, and not fished out; use guidelines from Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch to check your area.
There’s very little prep for this stew, except for grating the fresh ginger on the smallest holes of a box grater (a Microplane is terrific for this). Chicken stock adds more flavor to the dish, but use bottled or powdered clam broth, if you like; dilute it more than the directions say so the juice doesn’t overpower the soup.
The fish stew is wonderfully refreshing on the spring table, when we’re all looking for lighter fare and anything that doesn’t take too long to cook. It also makes a great dinner party main course if you need something easy and last-minute for guests.
Fish Stew with Ginger and Tomatoes
Use a Microplane or the smallest, finest holes on your cheese grater to grate the ginger.
Ginger is juicier and less fibrous in spring, but you can use any fresh ginger you find.
As written, this recipe has you cook the potatoes and the sauce in separate pots so they cook at the same time, which gets dinner on the table sooner. If you'd prefer to cut down on the number of dirty pots instead, you can cook the potatoes and sauce in the same pot: Cook the potatoes first (in a steamer basket with some water in the bottom of the pot and the lid tightly on), then remove the potatoes, pour out the water, and make the sauce.
- 4 small (15 ounces, 443 g) red potatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 can (14 to 16 ounces, 400 to 453 g) diced tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 3 cups (700 ml) chicken stock
- 2 pounds (.90 kg) boneless firm-fleshed white fish, such as haddock, halibut, hake, flounder, pollock, whiting, or other local fish (it’s okay if the skin is still on)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Prepare the potatoes:
Without peeling, slice the potatoes into 1/4-inch rounds. Steam them over boiling water in a vegetable steamer, tightly covered, for 10 minutes, or until tender. Set aside.
Make the tomato sauce:
Meanwhile, In a Dutch oven or other large pot over medium heat, heat the oil and add the ginger, garlic, tomatoes and their liquid, sugar, salt, black pepper, and red pepper. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the stock, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the flavors mellow.
Add the potatoes and return the sauce to a boil. Simmer 2 minutes.
Add the fish:
Cut the fillets into 3-inch pieces. Add them to the sauce and press them down into the pan to submerge them in the liquid. Cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes, or until the fish is opaque and flakes easily with the tip of a knife.
Taste for seasoning and add more salt and black pepper, if you like. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.