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Italian Fish Stew


- 900g (2 lb) tomatoes
good pinch of saffron
- good pinch of saffron strands
- about 1.1kg (2 lb) mixed fish fillets (red mullet, bream, brill, monkfish, plaice or cod), skinned
- 20-24 large cooked whole prawns in shells
- 100ml (3 fl oz) olive oil
- 2 large onions, peeled and finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 4 slices canned pimiento, cut into strips
- 4 anchovy fillets, drained
- 300 ml( pint) white grape juice
- 300 ml fish stock or water
- 4 bay leaves
- 90 ml (6 tbsp) chopped basil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 20-24 mussels, cleaned
- 8 slices of toast, to serve


1. Skin, deseed and chop the tomatoes. Soak the saffron strands in a little boiling water for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, cut the fish into chunky bite-sized pieces. Peel the prawns.

3. heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan, add the onion, garlic and pimiento and fry gently for 5 minutes.

4. add the tomatoes and anchovies and stir to break them up. Add the grape juice and stock, bring to the boil, lower heat and add the bay leaves and half the basil. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

5. Add the firm fish to the tomato mixture, then strain in the saffron water and season to taste. Cook for 10 minutes, then add any delicate-textured fish and cook for a further 5 minutes.

6. Add the prawns and mussels, cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the mussels open.
Discard the bay leaves and any unopened mussels. Put a slice of toast in each serving bowl and spoon over the stew.