RECIPE: Make it ‘Local’ Seafood Stew

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It seems like every coastal community around the world has their own particular version of seafood stew using their local catch of the season. This one takes many of its ingredients and flavors from the Mediterranean with the addition of oranges, olives, capers, cannellini beans, spicy sausage, and saffron. Choose an array of your favorite seafood for a delicious repast that shows off our local catch to its best advantage.  Serve with fresh baked bread, a tossed green salad, and a hearty red wine for a memorable and lovely island meal!


1 large fennel bulb, sliced (white part only)

1 large onion, diced

1 large link of spicy sausage (such as Andouille), sliced into 1/4” rounds

4 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped


3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

2 bay leaves

1 1/2 teaspoons of dried thyme or 1 tablespoon of fresh

1/2 teaspoon of dried hot red pepper flakes

salt and pepper


1 (28-ounce) can of crushed quality tomatoes in juice

1 1/2 cups of water

1 cup of white wine (a dry white works well)

large pinch of saffron

zest of 1 orange


juice of 1 orange

1 1/2 cups fumet (fish stock), chicken broth, or clam juice

1 (14 ounce) can of rinsed cannellini beans (or 1 1/2 cup soaked and cooked beans)

1 pound skinless fillets of thick white-fleshed fish, cut into chunks

1 cleaned Dungeness or Snow crab, disassembled (use kitchen shears to crack the body and legs)

1 pound mussels or steamer clams

1 pound scallops, shrimp, octopus, or squid

1 tablespoon of capers

1/2 cup of assorted olives with pits

1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped

butter and pressed garlic to taste


  1. Heat oil in a 5 – 6 quart heavy pot over medium-high heat until it simmers, and then stir in the fennel and onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add slices of sausage and continue to sauté until onions and sausages are lightly browned.
  3. Turn the heat to low and add garlic, bay leaves, thyme, red-pepper flakes, saffron and salt and pepper to taste (typically about 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper).
  4. Add tomatoes with their juice, water, wine, orange juice, zest, and broth and bring to a boil. Once it boils, turn the heat to medium low and cover while it cooks for 20 minutes.
  5. Add in cannellini beans.
  6. Turn the heat up so the soup is bubbling and then stir in the seafood and cook until fish is just cooked through and mussels or clams are open wide. This should take 4-6 minutes (discard any clams or mussels that remain unopened after 6 minutes).
  7. Discard bay leaves.
  8. Add olives, capers, and 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley.
  9. Finish the soup with a tablespoon or so of butter and more garlic if desired! Serve in wide flat soup dishes garnished with chopped parsley.

This post has been a contribution by Kristin Frost Albrecht on behalf of The Food Basket, Hawai’i Island’s Food Bank.

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