Fishing The Med, And Chris Devonshire-Ellis’s Fish Stew

by Chris Devonshire-Ellis

October 6th, 2016

cde-fishI love living near the sea; Malta of course is a Southern European Island nation right in the centre of the Mediterranean, while I also have my lovely House in Sri Lanka on the South Coast. I am spoilt for choice when it comes to sea food. However, there’s nothing quite like catching your own. So I am out, fishing for dinner.

The last time I fished in the Med I was on a yacht and had spooled out a long length of line with a lure attached; I took in a young Swordfish, and very good it was too – caught, cooked and consumed in about an hour.


cdefish1This occasion though I had to deal with rather more modest fare. All I was able to catch in four hours of fishing were little reef fish known as Brown Combers. The bait used was prawn. Still, I had enough for a dinner for four at home, and fortunately these fish, small as they are, are delicious. You also don’t find them in the markets. This is what you do with small fish like these:


cdefish2The fiddly bit is descaling them, which means running a blunt knife the wrong way along the body of the fish to take all the scales off. This needs to be done well, no-one likes fish scales in their mouth when eating. Then, when done, they just need to be topped and tailed, and have their fins removed. They are so small its not necessary to gut them. Then they’re ready to go!


cdefish3For Chris’s Mediterranean Fish Soup, this is what you do: Fry two onions and chopped garlic, season, then add one chopped fennel bulb. Saute for five minutes, add four diced tomatoes, three glasses white wine and torn fresh basil, and cook through for another five minutes. Add the scaled, beheaded small fish cook in for five minutes, then serve with bread and share with friends and a decent bottle of Sicilian  Insolia white wine. Salut!