Hearty but not too heavy, this vibrant fish stew—inspired by one from Food & Wine magazine—is welcome any time of year, but especially on early-spring evenings when homegrown offerings are limited. It’s quick to assemble, and leftovers freeze well. Any mild-flavored, firm-fleshed fish can be substituted for the catfish, as can shrimp, scallops, or other shellfish.
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon Creole seasoning
1/2 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper (plus more to taste)
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes in puree
2 cups frozen baby lima beans
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
2 pounds catfish fillets, cut into bite-size chunks
Tabasco sauce to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery, and green pepper; cook and stir until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in thyme, oregano, mustard, Creole seasoning, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add wine and cook until wine has almost evaporated, about 3 minutes.
2. Add tomatoes and broth; bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes. Add lima beans and simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in corn and simmer 4 minutes more. Add catfish, bring back to a simmer, and cook 2-3 minutes more or until fish is opaque.
3. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and Tabasco. Ladle into bowls and garnish with parsley.
Makes 6 servings.