Sardinian Fish Stew


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

All over Italy in all the small ports along the long coastline and on the islands, there are many recipes for creating sumptuous fish stews, soups and casseroles. This fish stew is a traditional recipe from the island of Sardinia and, like all the recipes for similar dishes, it relies on a wide selection of different kinds of fish and a few very simple ingredients to turn it into a memorable gastronomic experience. Here, dried and fresh red chilli gives the finished dish plenty of punch.


  • 120 ml/4 fl oz/½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped, plus 1 garlic clove, halved
  • 30 ml/2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 500 g/ lb canned tomatoes, strained
  • 1 dried red chilli, chopped
  • 1.5 kg/3 ¼ lb mixed fish, cut into even chunks, and a small whole raw lobster (optional)
  • 4 thick slices coarse, crusty bread
  • 1 fresh red chilli, whole
  • sea salt and ground black pepper


  1. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion, the garlic clove and the parsley, and fry for 10 minutes, until softened but not browned.
  2. Add the tomatoes, a pinch of salt and the chopped chilli. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring gently.

  3. Add the chunks of fish, starting with the thickest pieces and ending with the whole lobster, if using, basting with the sauce as you add each type of fish.

  4. Add 200 ml/7 fl oz/scant 1 cup boiling water to the pan, cover and simmer over the lowest heat for about 1 hour.
  5. Rub the slices of bread with the fresh chilli and the remaining garlic, then toast under a grill or broiler for 1-2 minutes on each side, until golden and crispy.
  6. Arrange the bread in a large serving bowl, and pour the fish stew over it, placing the lobster on top, if using. Serve immediately.