Greek Fish Stew


"On the Greek island of Kalymnos, fishermen make a stew with shellfish, whole fish, lemon, onion and water," says Andrew Zimmern. "They eat it straight from the pot with their hands—no bowls. It tastes of sweat and iodine, but it is easily one of the best soups I've ever had. I make my version with halibut, throwing in mussels at the end." Michael Psilakis: Defining Greek Food More Seafood Recipes

Greek Fish Stew. Photo © Con Poulos
Photo: © Con Poulos
Total Time:
45 mins


  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 medium leek, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced

  • 5 large celery ribs, thinly sliced, plus 1/4 cup leaves

  • 2 parsley sprigs

  • 2 thyme sprigs

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1 small lemon, scrubbed and quartered

  • 3 cups dry white wine

  • 2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth

  • One 1 1/2-pound halibut steak on the bone

  • 2 pounds mussels, scrubbed

  • Crusty bread, for serving


  1. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 1/4 cup of the oil. Add the onion, leek, garlic, celery ribs and leaves, parsley and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the vegetables are softened, 8 minutes. Add the lemon and wine and simmer over moderately high heat until the wine is reduced by half, 4 minutes. Add the stock and simmer over moderate heat until reduced by one-third, 5 minutes.

  2. Season the halibut with salt and pepper and add it to the casserole. Cover and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Turn the halibut and add the mussels. Cover and cook over moderate heat until the mussels open, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Transfer the stew to a deep dish and serve right away with bread.

Suggested Pairing

Vibrant whites from the Greek Isles, made with grapes such as Roditis and Moscofilero, are fantastic with seafood like this fish stew.

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