You don’t even need to make a fish stock for this wonderful dish – the aromatics and anchovies add a great depth of flavour. Even if you don’t like anchovies, use them. The dish doesn’t taste like anchovies at all!
4 large garlic cloves, peeled
4 anchovy fillets
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large brown onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 fennel bulb, with fronds; dice the bulb and reserve the fronds for serving
800g tinned chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
12 teaspoon sweet paprika
Pinch of saffron threads (optional)
500ml filtered water
4 thyme sprigs, tied in a bundle with kitchen string
700g firm white fish, such as ling or cod, pin-boned, skin removed, and cut into large pieces
Juice of 1 lemon
Using a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic cloves and anchovies into a paste. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onion, celery and fennel for 3-4 minutes, or until softened.
Add the mashed garlic and anchovies. Cook, stirring, for about 1 minute, or until the mixture is fragrant, then add the tomatoes, tomato paste, paprika and saffron, if using.
Cook, stirring often, for 10-15 minutes, or until the tomatoes have cooked down a bit and the mixture is aromatic.
Stir in the water and thyme sprigs and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add the fish, then cover and simmer for about 4 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked through.
Remove from the heat and remove the thyme sprigs. Add the lemon juice and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve immediately, scattered with the reserved fennel fronds.
Images and recipes from Supercharge Your Gut by Lee Holmes, Murdoch Books, RRP $35
Photography by Steve Brown