Rustic Fish Stew of Cod Cheeks, Fennel, Mussels & Clams Recipe


Eat the Week: Every meal, every dayIf you’re a seafood lover, then this one’s for you. Go all out on the fish front. I try and buy whatever the fishmonger’s recommending that day, which is how I discovered cod cheeks a few years back. Don’t be afraid to try different things; if you let them know what you’re making, they’re usually pretty good at suggesting what’s good and will work in your recipe. This is a great dish for when you need to cook for the masses.

  • Yield: 6 (or 2–4 with leftovers)
  • Preparation Time: 15 Minutes
  • Cooking Time: 30 Minutes


  • glug of olive oil
  • 2 white onions, roughly diced
  • 1 fennel bulb, roughly diced – include any fronds
  • 2 carrots, roughly diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 3 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • glug of white wine
  • 14 oz (400 g) tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 35 fl oz 4 cups (1 litre) fish stock
  • 1 lb 2 oz (500 g) mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 10½ oz (300 g) clams, scrubbed and rinsed
  • 12 oz (350 g) cod cheeks
  • handful of roughly chopped parsley
  • 1 lime juice
How to Make It
  1. Pour the oil into a large pan and place over medium heat. Add the onions, fennel and carrots and cook for 4–5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, chillii, fennel seeds and paprika, season with salt and pepper, and cook for another 4–5 minutes, stirring every now and then. Add the white wine, tomatoes, bay leaves and fish stock and simmer for 15 minutes, then have a taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly.
  2. Add the mussels, clams and cod cheeks and increase the heat to high. Cover the pan with a lid (or foil) and cook for 2–4 minutes, giving the pan a shake after a couple of minutes. Once the mussels and clams have opened and the cod cheeks are cooked, remove the pan from the heat.
  3. Sprinkle over the parsley, some extra black pepper and a squeeze of lime juice, then serve at least two big ladlefuls per person, making sure the fish and seafood is shared out equally.
  4. A big crusty seeded loaf with butter is my favourite accompaniment to this. As is a nice glass of crisp white wine.

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