Tunisian Fish and Vegetable Stew


Carrots, turnip, zucchini, potatoes, and cod simmer in a spicy tomato broth redolent of garlic and cumin.

Tunisian Fish-and-Vegetable Stew
Photo: © Kristin Gladney

The spiciness here comes from red-pepper flakes, but feel free to use the fiery Tunisian hot sauce harissa if you can get hold of some. Serve the fragrant stew with steamed couscous, which all absorb the generous quantity of broth.


  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, cut into thin slices

  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes

  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 quart canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock

  • 3/4 pound boiling potatoes (about 2), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 3 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1 turnip, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 2 zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1 1/2 pounds cod fillets, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks

  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, cumin, red-pepper flakes, black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

  2. Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Add the potatoes and carrots and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the turnip, zucchini, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Simmer for 10 minutes longer. Add the cod, bring back to a simmer, and cook until just done, about 3 minutes. Serve the stew topped with the parsley.


Fish alternatives: Any relatively firm, white-fleshed fish will work well. Try rockfish, grouper, or for a special treat, halibut. Be sure to remove the skin before adding the fish to the pot.

Suggested pairing

Serve a cold glass of Rosé with this Mediterranean-inspired dish. Try Côtes de Provence or Bandol, both from France, or one of the new drier Rosés from California.

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