This restaurant-quality Italian fish stew is quick and easy to make but bursting with deliciously authentic Italian flavors. Inspired by one of my favorite dishes in Italy, this surprisingly flavorful fish stew is packed with tender white fish, clams, herbs, and a delicious tomato broth.
What Makes This Italian Fish Stew Recipe So Good
- This stew is so good – like “almost impossible to believe it’s this good” good. The flavors of the garlicky crushed tomatoes, the briny clam juice, and bright lemon meld together beautifully for a restaurant-quality meal made right at home.
- It’s incredibly filling without being heavy. Thanks to all the seafood in this stew, one serving has 38 grams of delicious protein.
- This recipe makes approximately 4 servings, which means dinner for two plus leftovers! Store any leftover Italian fish stew in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Reheat it on the stovetop over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the stew is just warmed through.
Key Ingredients for Italian Fish Stew
White Fish – White fish refers to any type of fish that has a dry and flaky flesh when cooked. Any white fish will work for this recipe, so just choose your favorite! I like to use halibut, orange roughy, sea bass, or cod.
Clams – The larger the clams, the tougher and chewier they can be once they’re cooked. Keep that in mind when picking them out! If you can’t find clams, you can skip them, but they add a really great flavor to this Italian fish stew so I highly recommend them!
Lemon Juice – Fish and clams may be the star of this show, but lemon juice is the magic-maker. Lemon takes this Italian fish stew from “mmm, that’s a good stew” to “FREAKIN’ WOW THAT’S A GOOD STEW” and I don’t know about you, buuuutttttt… I definitely want a bowl of that second one.
- Avoid using sweet, fruity-flavored white wines in this recipe. Instead choose a dry white wine – like Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.
- You don’t want the fish to be overcooked and dry, which is why we add it in at the end. Be careful not to let the Italian fish stew cook too long after you add in the fish.
- How do you know your fish is ready? It’ll flake! Insert a fork into the fish at a 45° angle. Aim for the thickest part of the piece of fish. Twist the fork and pull up a little. If the fish flakes easily, and the flakes are opaque, then your fish is ready! If the fish resists and is still a little translucent, keep cooking – but keep an eye on it, it’ll cook fast!
- I can’t recommend enough that you serve this stew with warm pieces of a thick, crusty bread – like sourdough, Italian, or French bread. Use it to sop up the leftover liquid at the bottom of your bowl, or dunk it in your Italian fish stew right from the start.
Other Delicious Stews & Soups
- Healthy Spanish Chicken and Rice Stew (Whole30, Low Carb, Keto)
- Best Ever Tom Kha Gai Soup (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)
- Healthy Authentic Seafood Gumbo (Gluten Free, Whole30, Paleo, Low Carb)
- Healthy Zuppa Toscana (Whole30, Paleo, Dairy Free)
- Chinese Vegetable Soup
- She Crab Soup
- Creamy Irish Potato Soup
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Italian Fish Stew
- Large pot with lid
- 3 tablespoons olive oil plus more for serving
- ¼ cup green onions sliced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 anchovy fillet or ½ teaspoon anchovy paste
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ⅓ cup white wine
- 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup clam juice
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¾ cup water
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ pounds white fish cut into large bite-size pieces, see Notes
- 1 pound clams optional
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil chopped
- freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- 1 lemon zested, halved
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add green onions, garlic, anchovy, and red pepper flakes. Cook until green onions begin to wilt, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.
- Pour in white wine. Increase heat to high. Let boil 2 minutes or until liquid is reduced by approximately ⅓.
- Add in crushed tomatoes, clam juice, oregano, and water. Bring to simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until color deepens slightly, approximately 10 minutes.
- Add salt, then add fish and clams. Turn heat to high. Cover pot and cook until clams open and fish flakes easily with fork, approximately 5 minutes.
- Stir in parsley, basil, pepper, and juice of one lemon half.
- Ladle stew into serving bowls. Drizzle additional olive oil on top and serve with a pinch of lemon zest (optional) and crusty bread.
- Orange roughy, halibut, sea bass, or cod will all work for this recipe!
- To substitute for the white wine, try fish, chicken, or vegetable broth, or white wine vinegar.
- No clam juice? Try fish stock instead. You can also use water, but it won’t have as much flavor.
- For a make-ahead option, follow steps 1-3 and refrigerate in an airtight container up to 2 days. When you’re ready to eat, bring the stew to a simmer then continue with the recipe starting at step 4.
Cheryl Malik is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind the healthy, flavorful, family friendly recipes at 40 Aprons. She’s been a blogger for 10+ years and is known for her delicious recipes and detailed recipe instructions. Cheryl is a mom of three who lives in Memphis, TN.