Poisson en Raïto

Fish Stewed in a Vegetable and Red Wine Sauce

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • For



Appears in

The Cuisine of the Sun

By Mireille Johnston

Published 1990

  • About

The preparation en raïto means the fish is first fried in a little olive oil, then slowly cooked in a sauce consisting of red wine (or red vermouth), tomatoes, and herbs. You can use a variety of fish for this, but make sure all skin is removed and the fillets are trimmed and completely boneless when you add them to the sauce. Since raïto is thick and will camouflage whatever bones that are in it, you don’t want any unpleasant surprises as you bite into the fish.

You can serve this substantial dish with Fenouil Braisé, Gnocchis, Tout-Nus, or Riz aux Herbes, along with a watercress or endive salad and a fullbodied red wine.


  • 6 medium-sized whiting or mullet, filleted, or 1 3-pound piece of halibut, fresh cod, or haddock, cut in a slice inches thick
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large onions, chopped
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 4 tomatoes, peeled and quartered, or 1⅓ cups canned, quartered
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons savory
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 little black Niçois olives, unpitted, or 6 black oil-cured olives
  • ½ cup capers
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley


Sprinkle the fish fillets or slices with 1 teaspoon of the thyme. Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the fish 3 minutes on each side,* turning delicately with a spatula. Let it cool and then carefully remove the skin with a sharp knife.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan, add onions, and stir for 2 minutes. Add the wine and simmer for 10 minutes, then stir in the tomatoes, garlic, bay leaves, 1 teaspoon of the thyme, savory, and salt and pepper. Cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Purée the mixture through a Mouli mill into a bowl. Put half of the purée in a wide pan or baking dish. Place the fish on it, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cover with the rest of the purée. Cook, uncovered, on top of the stove for 20 minutes.

Add the olives and capers, check the seasoning, and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer to a warm serving dish and sprinkle with parsley.

* Instead of frying, you can bake the fish in a 350° oven for 30 minutes.