I can't prove this, but I am positive that I was a normande fish wife in a previous life. I have never met a fish I didn't like (except gefilte fish, but that's a story for another time).
Not everyone feels the same way, I understand.
This dish calls for cod, but it would be wonderful without fish. For one thing, it is pretty to look at, in a colorful way. For another thing, it is full of vegetables, with just enough citrus to make you lick your lips in appreciation. Give it a try!
Umbrian Fish Stew
A Fritter Original
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/4 cup of carrots, chopped
1 medium fennel bulb, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, seeded, cored, and chopped
1 cup of dry white wine
2 cups of water
1/4 cup of freshly-squeezed orange juice
1 28-ounce can of whole or crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1 pound of cod
1/8 cup of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or stock pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, and fennel and stir to coat with the olive oil. Saute the vegetables until softened, about 5-6 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure even cooking. Add the orange bell pepper and cook another 2-3 minutes, stirring.
Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the wine. Allow it to reduce for 2-3 minutes, then stir in the water, orange juice, and tomatoes. If you are using whole tomatoes, crush them a bit with your spoon. Add the bay leaf and smoked paprika, and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, then stir in the parsley. Nestle the cod into the stew so that it is covered completely, and cover the pot and cook for 4-5 minutes, until the cod is opaque when you lift it. Gently flake the cod into chunks.
Serve while hot with crusty bread, a green salad, and a glass of the wine you used in the stew.