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Monegasque Stocafi - Fish stew made with salt-cured cod and tomatoes

What's The Big Idea?

Monegasque = from Monaco. You knew that already, right?!

Although one of the smallest countries in the world, Monaco does have a number of unique traditional dishes, and this fish stew is one of them. Located on the Mediterranean, Monaco has an extensive coastline (relative to the size of the country itself!), and therefore seafood is very popular. Combine salted cod with mediterranean vegetables such as tomatoes, garlic, olives and peppers, and it's not difficult to see how this dish sprang into existence.

NB: You will need to allow plenty of time for soaking the dried salt cod

Shopping List

Here's the list of what you need:

  • 1lb dried salt cod
  • 7 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • ½ red chilli, finely chopped and seeds removed
  • 60ml white wine
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6oz red or green bell pepper, chopped
  • 30 pitted black olives
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
  • A little extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • Sea-salt crystals and freshly ground black pepper

What To Do

  • Place the dried cod in a bowl, cover with cold water, and soak for at least 48 hours, changing the water every 12 hours
  • Remove the cod from the water, pat dry with paper towels, and cut into 1 inch (2.5cm) pieces
  • Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large frying pan, add the cod in small batches, and fry until lightly browned; set aside and repeat with remaining cod
  • Warm 4 tablespoons oil in a large flame-proof casserole. Add the onions, garlic, and chilli, and cook gently for 5 minutes
  • Pour in the wine, and reduce until the liquid has mostly evaporated. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer
  • Add the salt cod and herbs, cover the casserole, and simmer gently for 45 minutes
  • Add the peppers, olives and capers, and simmer for an additional 15 minutes
  • The stew should have plenty of liquid; if it becomes dry, add a little water or fish stock
  • Ladle into bowls, drizzle with a little olive oil, and sprinkle with plenty of black pepper and a few coarse sea-salt crystals
  • Serve with crusty fresh bread

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