Easy Mediterranean Fish Stew

There are probably hundreds or thousands of variations of this easy Mediterranean fish stew. In San Francisco, they add shellfish and clam juice or fish stock and call it cioppino.  Sicilians make it with sea bass or orange roughy.  The Greeks use dill and potatoes, while the Portuguese add sausage.

This particular version has tomatoes, potatoes, and some citrus zest.  I adapted it from a New York Times recipe (which made a big pot of stew, enough for 6 people, and included the dreaded anchovies).  I also threw in some mushrooms (mostly because I wanted to use them up).  There’s no shellfish, and I made it with cod (which is more sustainable and budget-friendly than orange roughy or sea bass). I also swapped the chopped tomatoes they called for with tomato puree (that’s what I had, and it cooks faster).

There are two nice things about this recipe.  The first is that it’s super-easy to make.  Just make the stew, and then add the fish at the very end. Don’t overcook it!

The second is that you can make it in advance up to the point where you add the fish.  When you’re ready to eat, reheat the stew and add the fish once it’s hot.




Substitutions and Variations for Easy Mediterranean Fish Stew

  • Replace the water with fish stock, clam juice, or white wine
  • Add some capers
  • Double the garlic and add some pepperoncini (Italian hot peppers)
  • Vary the fish by adding some seafood such as clams, mussels, or shrimp
  • Make it Portuguese style with chicken broth (as the liquid), green bell pepper, potatoes, and sausage

More Mediterranean and Fish Recipes

Greek Fish with Lemon and Tomatoes

Pan Fried Tilapia with Lemon Butter Sauce

Salmon with Greek Yogurt Dill Sauce

 




Easy Canned Tuna Curry

There are some nights when you want dinner and you want it quick. This easy canned tuna curry can be made in just a few minutes. There’s very little prep work.  The toughest bit is opening a can. Just cut up a bit of onion, chop some garlic, grate some ginger, and open a can of tuna. Yes, canned tuna.

If you make extra rice in advance (as I usually do), you just have to heat that up and you have dinner. It’s curry in a hurry.

I adapted this recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick & Easy Indian Cooking. Her recipe made two or three servings, which I have reduced. She calls for fresh chopped cilantro (which I never have, so I used a bit of dried coriander, which is the same thing). If you do have the fresh version, use 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons.

I have also simplified the preparation a bit.  Yes, it’s possible to want to speed up even a canned tuna curry recipe! I was in a rush! And I was hungry. Rather than slicing the onions into rounds, I chopped them.  I grated the ginger with my microplane zester, instead of slicing it into strips; I didn’t want to bite down on big hunks of ginger! Besides, this way is faster.

During the quarantine, if you don’t have fresh ginger, ground is fine.  No fresh jalapeño? Use canned chilis instead. Don’t have that either? Red pepper flakes work too.

 




More Quick Fish Recipes

 

pan-fried tilapia with lemon butter saucePan Fried Tilapia with Lemon Butter Sauce

Just a few ingredients and you’ve got a fancy-looking dinner.  Tilapia is mild, so it’s a good “starter” fish.  It’s mostly pantry ingredients (you just need to buy fish; Trader Joe’s usually has it frozen).

fish fillet with yogurt sauceIndian Fish Fillet in Yogurt Sauce

A few minutes prep and twenty minutes of baking. The sauce tastes rich and creamy, but it’s made with yogurt so no guilt. There’s a bit of heat, but it’s subtle, not overpowering.

 

tuna cannellini bean saladTuna Cannellini Bean Salad Recipe for One

Got beans? Mix them with some tuna, serve with bread or fruit and you have a meal. You don’t even have to actually cook anything.  All pantry staples, other than the scallion. If you don’t have one, use onion.

 




No Cook Meals for One Person

It’s summer (at least in the Northern Hemisphere), the sun is calling, and even I don’t always feel like cooking. So, here’s a list of no cook meals for one person that require no boiling, sautéing, roasting or toasting! And, since there’s no cooking, you can make them all in less than 15 minutes.

Fruit and Vegetable Salads

mango cottage cheese and honeyCottage Cheese Yogurt and Fruit Salad

Healthy and easy to make. If you have frozen mango, you don’t even have to chop anything. Just defrost, pour everything into a bowl. Done!

 

 

strawberry spinach salad balsamic dressing feta cheeseStrawberry Spinach Salad with Balsamic Dressing and Feta Cheese

This salad is both colorful and tasty. The sweet fruit contrasts with the tangy cheese and the vinegar.

spinach and blueberry salad with feta cheeseBlueberry Spinach Salad with Feta Cheese and Walnuts

I liked the strawberry salad so much I decided to make a variation with blueberries and add some mushrooms and walnuts too.

 

Chicken and Fish Salads

These two no cook meals require a bit of help from some leftover chicken or your local market to get a rotisserie chicken.

asian chicken salad with cabbageSingle Serving Asian Chicken Salad with Cabbage Recipe

Colorful, slightly spicy, and appealing even when the heat spoils your appetite.

chicken salad with currantsChicken Salad Recipe with Greek Yogurt and Dried Currants

No mayo needed to make this chicken recipe. Instead it has Greek yogurt and currants (or raisins or even dried cranberries if you prefer).

 

 




No Cook Sandwiches

peanut butter and cucumber sandwich on ryePeanut Butter and Cucumber on Rye

I know this sounds weird, but it’s really good. My mom invented it. The cucumber gives it crunch and the peanut butter makes it salty and slightly sweet (if you use the sweetened kind). Make sure to use rye bread.

Italian Tuna Salad
One can of tuna (packed in olive oil), 2 tsp chopped red onion (or scallion), 1/2 tsp capers, olive oil to taste, 2 T lemon juice, 1 T basil leaves (chopped), plus salt and pepper to taste. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.  Eat as a sandwich, or serve with a green salad.

Turkey and Avocado Sandwich
Sliced deli turkey, sliced avocado, roasted red peppers, honey mustard on whole grain (or even better 7-grain) bread.  You can toast the bread if you like (even though that’s cooking, sort of.)

Platters

 
antipasto platter

Ham Platter
Rosemary ham, goat cheese spread, crackers, olives, fruit, and a lovely glass of red wine.

Goat cheese spread:
Take the goat cheese out of the fridge ahead of time to soften it. Add a bit of milk to make it more spreadable. Then roll it in ground almonds.

israeli breakfast

Israeli salad, pita bread, hummus, olives, and feta cheese. Or add some pickled herring.





Quick Creole Cabbage and Sausage

This creole cabbage and sausage recipe is quick and easy to put together. Just the ting when you want a quick dinner. Don’t be intimidated by the ingredients list.  The creole seasoning and the mustard are fairly easy to find.

If you can’t find them, or don’t want to buy a whole jar of something for one recipe, it’s pretty easy to make both from ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.  There are links to recipes for each of them further down on the page. I keep a repurposed jam jar of the creole seasoning in my cupboard so it’s ready when I need it.

I used a spicy chicken sausage here, but you could use andouille sausage or hot Italian sausage if you prefer.  Just cook it a bit more, and eliminate (or reduce) the first tablespoon of oil.




Here are links to recipes for the creole seasoning and the mustard. Just toss (or mix) ingredients together and you’re done.

Creole Seasoning Recipe

Creole Mustard Recipe

More Sausage and Cabbage Recipes

bibimbap rice bowlBibimbap Rice Bowl with Meat and Vegetables

Bright, colorful and packed with flavor from tender veggies, warm/spicy ginger and garlic, ground beef and a spicy sriracha-infused sauce.

 

asian chicken salad with cabbageSingle Serving Asian Chicken Salad with Cabbage Recipe

Get your veggies and make yourself a one bowl, no cook meal with leftover chicken, cabbage, peppers, and a gingery vinaigrette.

 

unstuffed cabbage roll recipeSmall Batch Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe

Standard stuffed cabbage is great, but it’s a lot of work. This is much easier. Don’t stuff, layer instead.

 

Polish sausage with cabbage and potatoesOne Pot Polish Sausage and Cabbage with Potatoes

A meal in a bowl. But don’t let the easy prep fool you. This dish is full of flavor from buttery potatoes, rich sausage, braised cabbage, and sweet carrots.  Great taste doesn’t have to be hard.

 




Easy Chicken Curry Recipe

This easy chicken curry recipe is a quick and delicious way to get the taste of Indian food without a lot of work.  The original recipe came from The New York Times (I think), but I had to put my own spin on it. It only requires a few ingredients and a small skillet and you can put the whole thing together in fifteen minutes. Just perfect when you’re hungry and in a hurry!

If you don’t have Greek yogurt, you can use sour cream instead. As a bonus, sour cream is more heat-resistant than yogurt so you can add it directly to the pan, rather than dirtying a separate bowl. I use the yogurt because I prefer the flavor. Also, it seems more authentic to use yogurt instead of sour cream.

Garam masala is a spice mixture (kind of like curry, every mixture and every manufacturer is a bit different).  It adds warmth and savor to the dish (not spiciness).




Chicken Curry Recipe Variations and Substitutions:

  • If you don’t have jalapeño pepper, add a pinch of red pepper flakes along with the curry
  • Add some ginger
  • If you don’t have boneless chicken, cut up a bone-in thigh, or just start the chicken first, cook it for ten minutes, then add the onions, and follow the rest of the recipe (with the bone-in thighs, the recipe will take about 25 minutes total).

Recommended Books and Ingredients

Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick & Easy Indian Cooking

I love Indian food, but I used to find it a bit intimidating, because it’s not as familiar to me as a home cook. However, this cookbook made that a lot easier (and I use it quite a bit).

My favorites are quick chicken korma, lamb with spinach, fish fillets in curry sauce, and curried tuna (the canned kind, not fresh). Most of the recipes take less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Indian Cooking Unfolded

Many Indian cookbooks use ingredients that can be hard to find if you don’t live in an area with a large Indian or Pakistani population. I have some excellent spice stores near me, but many don’t.

That’s one reason this cookbook caught my eye. He gives you the standard ingredients, and then tells you how to “cheat” if you don’t have them available. It makes the food much more accessible. The recipes are easy to follow and have 10 ingredients or less.

Rani Garam Masala

An essential mixture for Indian cooking. It’s a blend of 11 different spices, so it’s full of flavor.  Great for chicken (like this recipe), or use it on eggs, lentils, or veggies. It’s got cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and nutmeg so the flavor is “warm” and aromatic, rather than spicy or hot.

More Chicken Recipes for One Person

peruvian roast chicken with green saucePeruvian Roast Chicken in Green Sauce Recipe

I just can’t stop eating this. Crispy chicken skin, juicy meat, and a lip-smackingly delicious sauce. Use it on the chicken, as a dip, or on fish.

 

chicken mango stir fryQuick Chicken Mango Stir Fry

Sweet mango and bell peppers, with a little kick from green or red chile. Don’t have fresh peppers? No problem. A frozen stir fry mix is fine. So is frozen mango. Ready in about 20 minutes.

honey sticky garlic chickenHoney Sticky Garlic Chicken

Crispy, sweet, spicy, and delicious. And all you need to make it is fresh chicken and pantry ingredients.

 

Jewish chicken curry chitarneeJewish Chicken Curry Chitarnee

Not the Jewish food you were expecting! This is from India, so it’s fragrant with warm spices like ginger, onions, and cardamom.

 




Pan-Fried Tilapia with Lemon Butter Sauce

This single serving of pan-fried tilapia with lemon butter sauce is quick, easy, and delicious. I was never a big fish fan growing up, but I’ve grown to like it as I have gotten older.  If you’re a bit wary of fish, tilapia is a good “starter fish.” It has a mild flavor and doesn’t overwhelm your taste buds (or your kitchen).

I got the idea from someone who said she made tilapia with butter, lemon, and rosemary.  I thought that sounded good, but that it would be even better with some olive oil and mustard powder (it was).

You can put the whole thing together and have dinner on the table in less than fifteen minutes. Make the fish, steam (or zap) some veggies and you’re good to go.

I made this recently (just as spring is finally showing signs of arriving, after a truly nasty winter), but it would be great in the summer when you want something fast.  There’s no need to heat the stove or the oven for an hour.

By the way, the fish came from Trader Joe’s.  They have great frozen fish. The tilapia was in a package with individually-wrapped fillets. Normally, I don’t like extra packaging, but in this case it was perfect, since I only had to defrost one fillet, instead of the entire bag.




 

Pan-Fried Tilapia with Lemon Butter Sauce Substitutions and Variations

  • If you don’t have tilapia, use another mild, white fish such as cod, flounder, or Dover sole
  • Swap the rosemary for some capers
  • Skip the mustard and the rosemary and use dill instead

 

More Easy Fish Recipes

fish fillet with yogurt sauceIndian Fish Fillet in Yogurt Sauce

Fish in a rich, tangy sauce that seems more decadent than it actually is.  There’s a bit of warm spiciness from cumin and garam masala, but it’s not “hot” spicy.

 

greek fish with lemon and tomatoesGreek Fish with Lemon and Tomatoes

Make a quick marinade, let it sit, and pan-fry the fish. Dinner is done.

 

fish in peppery tomato sauceSephardic Fish in Peppery Tomato Sauce

In America, we tend to think of “Jewish” food as brisket, potato pancakes, and bagels. But there’s a whole world of spicier and more varied foods from India, Lebanon, and the Mediterranean. This is one of them.

easy mediterranean fish stewEasy Mediterranean Fish Stew

A variation on the classic cioppino, popular in San Francisco, this stew is easy and accessible.  You can even start it in advance (up to the point where you add the fish).

 




Chicken Florentine for One

Sometimes, there are nights when you’ve been working hard all day, and you open the fridge and wonder, “Where’s the magic instant food fairy?” You’re hungry, you want food, and you want it now. But you also want something you’ll enjoy eating. Chicken Florentine sounds fancy, but it’s really easy to put together. It also cooks quickly.  It only takes about 20 minutes to prepare, from start to finish.

All you have to do is do a little bit of chopping, a quick sauté, and toss a few ingredients in a frying pan.  Ta dah! Dinner is ready.

I served this with a simple side dish of spaghetti tossed with olive oil and butter, and topped with grated parmesan cheese (not shown).




Chicken Florentine for One Substitutions and Variations

• Saute some mushrooms in the sauce
• Replace the onions with shallots
• Use white wine instead of chicken broth
• Add a squeeze of lemon juice (instead of the wine or the broth); this will add a bit of acidity and brighten the flavor

More Chicken Recipes

mixed greens egg potato chicken saladMixed Greens Egg Potato and Chicken Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Make extra chicken and use some of the spinach for this refreshing summer salad. Crispy, colorful, and easy too.

 

feta brined roast chicken

Feta Brined Roast Chicken Recipe for One

You’ve likely heard of brining turkey. Turns out feta cheese works just as well (and it’s more flavorful too). Marinate, roast, and serve on a bed of fresh spinach.


Vietnamese baked chicken with lime
Vietnamese Chicken with Lime and Ginger

Warm and spicy with a ginger kick, mellowed by sweet, citrusy lime.  Just marinate and bake.

 

peruvian roast chicken with green saucePeruvian Roast Chicken in Green Sauce Recipe

Crispy roast chicken topped with a killer green sauce. Flavored with spinach, hot pepper, and just enough creamy mayo to hold it together. Great as a dip too.