Zuppa di Pesce Pugliese

Pugliese Fish Stew


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

This is a speciality of the large coastal city of Taranto, in Puglia. This important Italian port is home to wonderful seafood markets, which are filled with a remarkable array of fresh fish and shellfish. With so many varieties to choose from, local cooks will adapt the ingredients according to what is available at the time. This is the sort of dish that requires plenty of time to enjoy, as the seafood is only partially prepared and diners need to remove bones and shells at the table.


  • 1.3 kg/3 lb prepared seafood, such as a mixture of huss and cod (cut into chunks), small whole red mullet, squid, raw unshelled prawns/shrimp, mussels, razor clams and Venus clams
  • 120 ml/4 fl oz/½ cup olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 45 ml/3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 10 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and sliced into strips
  • 8 thick slices ciabatta
  • sea salt and ground black pepper


  1. Put the chunks of fish, whole small fish, squid and prawns in a large colander. Wash thoroughly under cold running water, then drain well.

  2. Scrub the remaining shellfish and pull off the beards from the mussels. Discard any clams or mussels with broken shells or which gape open and do not close when tapped on the work top. Put the mussels and clams in separate bowls. Pour cold salted water over both. Leave to soak.

  3. Heat half the oil in a large pan. Add the garlic, half the parsley and half the tomatoes.
  4. Fry for 5 minutes, then add the fish from the colander. Add 30-45ml/2-3 tbsp cold water and season. Lower the heat, cover and cook for 6-8 minutes.
  5. Put all the mussels into a large shallow pan. Cover tightly and shake the pan over the heat for 6 minutes, or until all the mussels have opened. Discard any that have not opened. Strain the liquid from the mussels over the cooked fish. Put the mussels into a bowl.

  6. Put the remaining oil into a large, heavy pan. Add the remaining parsley and tomatoes and fry gently for 5 minutes. Add the clams, stir, season, cover and cook for 6 minutes or until the shells have opened. Discard any that remain shut.
  7. Toast the ciabatta slices until golden and place a slice in each of eight soup bowls. Divide the cooked fish, with the liquid, among the bowls, then scatter over the mussels, with their liquid, then the clams. Serve.