This one-pot fish stew has a key shortcut

  • Cod stew with fennel, olives and orange essence.

    Cod stew with fennel, olives and orange essence. Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post

By Ellie Krieger
The Washington Post
Updated 1/15/2019 6:15 AM

This recipe is the food equivalent of a cozy sweater - one made of the most luxurious cashmere. It is a big, warming bowl of comfort food, nourishing and easy for everyday eating, but with an elegance that allows it to cross over seamlessly to a dinner party. It marries the classic Sicilian trio of fennel, olives and orange - typically served together as a salad - in a robust one-pot meal.

The flavor of its fennel becomes deeper and mellower as it simmers and softens with the onion, garlic, carrot and celery in the tomato-infused fish stock. Strips of orange zest and bay leaf add layers of brightness to the mix. The stew's base may be made and refrigerated a day ahead, or it may be frozen so it is at your fingertips whenever you need it. When you are ready to serve, just bring the base to a boil, then add the olives for a briny kick, and the fish.

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Cod works beautifully, but you can use any firm, white-fleshed fish, such as monkfish, halibut and sea bass. The fish takes just five minutes to cook, so with the base already at hand you can fix dinner in a flash.

A squeeze of orange juice at the end imbues the stew with a fresh burst of citrus, for a dish which, like that sweater, will be one you reach for again and again.

• Ellie Krieger is a registered dietitian, nutritionist and author who hosts public television's "Ellie's Real Good Food." She blogs and offers a weekly newsletter at

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