Easy Spanish fish stew recipe

a light, smoky, paprika and tomato based cod stew

So easy, and so Spanish, using all the typical ingredients – any firm white fish will do !


Last updated Jun 17, 2021 at 8:10AM | Published on Aug 17, 2020

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Win win as it looks like you’ve toiled for hours ! I also love the time break in the method –  gives the perfect time for a pre dinner drink, set a candle-lit table, or to make sure the kids are all tucked up in bed ❤️

tomato and anchovy salad with red onions

So simple, tasty, and complete as a lunch or light supper.

Bacalau (meaning cod in Spanish ) is used a lot in Spanish recipes. We love it ! Salted cod is used in many of them but we havn’t tried that. We’ve had some delicious cod salad with a creamy spicy sauce, so we intend trying to create our own version of that.   Sign up here to our newsletter here and will let you know when it’s out.

Basic Ingredients

For two people…

2-4 Cod pieces
1 tin tomatoes
1 onion
1 red pepper
1 clove garlic
1/2 lemon

1 TEASPOON smoked paprika

A handful chopped parsley
A handful of black olives



Black olives: I forgot I was going to make this for supper and I  the black olives and anchovies for lunch so I substituted for something else salty and put in a few sun dried tomatoes chopped and a teaspoon of capers. Worked well.

Cod: Any white flaky fish would work well here.

Smoked paprika: If you don’t have any… check out the tips below. 


easy cod and tomato dish

1. Make sure you use a pan big enough so that you can easily place your fish on the sauce

2. Make sure there is enough height in your oven to take the pan with the lid on ! 

 Kitchen tools I used


Large knife and Board – We like to use the heel of a large chef knife or the almond crunching, and big long lasting commercial style boards, and they’ve lasted us forever ! Using the right colour board for the right food is a pet nag of mine – blue is for fish ! A small separate board is also perfect for onions too.

Chef tip


In this recipe though we had smoked paprika at the ready. That’s not always the case, so it’s useful to have this great cheat that lots of chefs use !

If you only have sweet or spicy paprika, use that and then make the dish smoky by adding some drops of ( taste test it !) of hickary smoke extract… i.e. liquid smoke!  

liquid smoke

Smoke in a bottle !

Just be careful you don’t use too much – it’s easy to overdo it. Just add a few drops, stir and taste test. We use a local product and use about 5 drops, but this one by Colgin is the most popular one we see other chefs use, and it’s easy to get on Amazon. Read the instructions and have fun !

Here’s the simple method.

Use a heavy based pan/ dish with a lid…that can cook on both the stove top and in the oven. Choose a size that will allow you to lay all your fish out nicely.

1. Dice onion and pepper, and dice garlic finely. Slice the lemon ( I also used the end diced finely).

2. Add some olive oil to the pan and cook up these 4 till they soften up. Add a little water to avoid sticking and mop up the sauce if it starts to stick.

3. When softened add tomatoes and another half – 1 tin water. I used half as I half added water to loosen the sauce.

4. Add the smoked paprika and olives ( or substitute with something else salty like i did) .
Cook the mix down to reduce to a nice sauce and just at a simmer. Keep an eye on it and put the lid on when you need to. Takes about 20mins. Time for an aperitif !  Turn the oven on soon to 200℃ to preheat .

5. When sauce is cooked, taste and check if it needs some salt and pepper seasoning and add. Then place the cod on top of the sauce, put the lid back on, and pop in the oven till the fish just cooks to a nice flaky moist finish. Takes about 10 mins.

6. Serve with the parsley mixed in, and perhaps some nice bread to mop up that delicious sauce !


Recipe from @kitchen_of_dad… thanks chef.

I’ve been meaning to make this oh so simple dish for ages and was inspired by chef Rob posting the recipe on his instagram feed @kitchen_of_dad. ( only one deliberate mistake of 1 tablespoon ( instead of 1 teaspoon) of paprika on his recipe actually made me feel great as I realised I was actually looking at a recipe sensibly and not just blindly following it. Thanks chef? it turned out fabulously.

I was also inspired by all the other research I’d been doing on Spanish dishes like Salmorejo, and I kept finding an egg in it or on top ( a hard boiled egg). With the traditional British fish pie in my head, I though that would work taste wise – so I added one for the final Spanish presentation.

spanish dishes like paprika and hard boiled eggs !

Tada… mustn’t drop it over the wee balcony !

Please do let us know in the comments if you make this… and what you did whilst it was cooking ?



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As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I may earn a commission.

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