Icelandic Fish Stew with a Saffron Leek Broth

Hello Substantial Living!

As the flowers are popping out of the earth and we say goodbye to winter in the last rainy days of San Francisco, I was inspired to create this recipe.  It was shortly after I was having some Chinese lychee tea with my lovely friend, Kamila, whose fashion designs always make me feel feminine, elegant, and beautiful.  While most of our conversation revolved around our entrepreneurship  hopes and dreams, the last part of our chat inspired me to cook.  What a surprise!!  We ended talking about living in Europe, growing and making our own rustic delicious foods, and so I was inspired to make something rustic and comforting as we say goodbye to the rain (and hopefully snow for my East Coast besties!), with this super rustic, Icelandic fish stew.

While I spent over a decade enjoying the classic New England chowders-a meal certainly not tremendously healthy, but hey, it can be so good on a cold, snowy day with a sourdough rustic bread!  You can’t say no to a properly reduced broth made into a cream sauce!


  • 3-4 TBS butter
  • 2 small onion – finely slice
  • 1/2 leek – finely sliced
  • 3 tomatoes – chopped into very small pieces
  • 2 small stalks celery, finely sliced
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sherry (optional)
  • 3 TBS tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp saffron powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 3-4 TBS wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine (optional)
  • 3 cups jumbo shrimps
  • 4 cups cod or salmon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 TBS chives-finely chopped
  • 1 TBS Microgreens + Fresh English Peas (Garnish)

Melt butter in a large cast iron pot, add all the vegetables (except the tomatoes) and cook for 10 minutes until tender. Add sherry and white wine and reduce for 4 minutes. Add the stock, tomato concentrate, saffron and vinegar.

Boil for 15-20 minutes. Add the fish, shrimps, red chili powder, paprika and chopped tomatoes, bring to a soft boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add cream and stir. It is important not to make the soup boil again (as the cream might ‘break’/curdle). Garnish with micro greens, chives, and english peas.

Serve with some warm bread and butter on the side.


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