Fishwives Stew

Local Ocean’s Classic

TIME: 20 minutes

SERVING SUGGESTION: 1 bowl per person

Rockfish, Prawns, and Scallops
Manila Clams
Dungeness Crabmeat
Oregon Pink Shrimp
Tomato Saffron Sauce
Shellfish & Vegetable Broth
Veggie Mix (Cabbage, Tomato, Fennel)
Herb Butter
Herb Paste
Parsley Garnish
Panini Bakery Focaccia Bread

Cooking oil
Wine for cooking (optional)

1. This is a one-pan meal, so select a sauté pan large enough to fit the entire stew.  In the sauté pan, heat 2 tbsp oil and the herb paste over medium-high heat.

2. Once the oil is hot, add the clams and 2/3 of the herb butter (saving 1/3 to butter the focaccia bread).  Sauté for 2-3 minutes, until the clams are just starting to open up.

3. Add the prawns, scallops, and rockfish to the pan to sear. After a minute, flip them to sear on the other side. Cook for another minute.  

4. Add shellfish and vegetable broth to the pan bring to a boil.

- OPTIONAL - Instead of the shellfish and vegetable broth, deglaze the pan with 3/4 cup white wine (1 cup for the 4-person serving). At the restaurant we use a custom blend of chardonnay and pinot gris.  Cook to reduce by half.  
Add the tomato saffron broth to the pan and bring to a boil. Mix in the vegetables and cover the pan.  Cook while covered for 5 minutes.  The stew should continue to boil.  

5. Prepare the focaccia and lemon -

- Toast the focaccia bread - Drizzle or brush with olive oil. Heat a second pan or an electric griddle on medium and toast the focaccia on it, flipping after about 3 minutes. You want the outside to be crunchy but the center of the bread to remain slightly soft if possible.  While it’s still warm, top with the remaining herb butter.

- Cut lemon wedges by cutting in half lengthwise, then each half into thirds again lengthwise.

6. To serve, divide equally among large stew bowls using a ladle. You can also use tongs to divide up the seafood components. Top with pink shrimp and crabmeat. Garnish with parsley and a lemon wedge.  Serve with toasted focaccia.  Enjoy!

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The stew was one of the most challenging recipes to perfect. It took about 3 years. I was adamant that a proper cioppino, bouillabaisse, fish stew is the hallmark of a great seafood restaurant. In fact, I think it is the ultimate litmus test of any seafood menu. The problem with most stews is twofold: the base is too thick and the tomatoes too overpowering and if the stew sits in a pot all day, the proteins become overcooked and lose their subtle flavors.

Our stew overcomes these limitations by balancing equal amounts of plum tomatoes and tomatillos in the base. The tomatillos lighten the weight of the base and provide a piquant flair to the dish. And each stew is cooked to order, so the proteins do not overcook. Saffron, Hungarian sweet paprika and the cooking technique are what make this dish.

Updated December 28th, 2020

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