Italian Seafood Stew is adapted from Mario Batali’s Lifeguard Stew, which I first sampled on a trip to Turks and Caicos. One of my sister’s friends whipped this up for lunch in just 20 minutes.
Italian Seafood Stew is a quick seafood recipe using couscous, tomatoes, currants and caper berries. This Italian stew comes together in just 20 minutes from start to finish!
Two unexpected ingredients give this quick meal interest and sophistication: caper berries and currants. Pops of brine and salt with sweet and chewy.
Caper berries are the mature buds of the caper bush. Capers (the small ones) are harvested as the bud, before it flowers and then turns into a berry. Which is why in recipes like my Lemon Caper Salmon, frying the capers will create a crispy, floral bloom.
This Italian Seafood Stew is adapted from Mario Batali. In my version, I increased the amount of both caper berries and currants as well as the pine nuts and garlic… because I love garlic.
Israeli couscous, also known as pearl couscous, adds a hearty and robust base. Seafood can be substituted for whatever you have on hand or go without it for a pleasing vegetarian dish.
I used calamari and langostinos (squat lobster), but while on vacation it was wonderful with diver scallops. You could even cut up pieces of fish like cod or halibut. Interestingly enough, langoinstos was also the original seafood used for scampi dishes.
This recipe for Italian Seafood Stew can make a small amount of seafood go a long way. Shellfish, such as clams, mussels and oysters can also be used for a cioppino-like dish.
And the most important element, next to flavor of course, is ease. Italian Seafood Stew only takes 20 minutes to put together from start to finish. Now that is impressive!
If you liked this easy seafood recipes, here are a few more:
- 1 tablespoons Kosher salt
- 1 cup Israeli or pearl couscous
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoon pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons yellow onion chopped
- 4 garlic cloves thinly sliced or minced*
- 4 tablespoons dried currants
- 1 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 2 cups canned plain tomato sauce
- 1-2 pounds fresh seafood cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 cup caper berries drained
- Maldon sea salt extra virgin olive oil and scallions
- Fill a medium sauce pan half way with water, salt with 1 tablespoon Kosher salt and bring to a boil.
- Boil Israeli couscous for 2 minutes, stirring to prevent clumps. Drain and then submerge in ice water to cool and stop cooking process. When cooled, drain again and set aside.
- In a Dutch oven or large sauce pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add pine nuts, onion, garlic, currants and dried red pepper flakes, saute for 2 minutes, or until vegetables have started to soften.
- Add white wine and tomato sauce, bringing to a simmer. Add couscous, increasing heat to a low boil.
- Lastly, add seafood and caper berries, cooking for an additional 3-4 minutes or until seafood is just cooked.
- Serve immediately, garnishing with Maldon sea salt, extra virgin olive oil and scallions, if desired.
If you've tried this recipe come back and let us know how it was!
* Thinly sliced is faster and will have a milder garlic flavor, while mincing will produce more garlicky taste.