Recipe: Mackerel Fish Stew Creole

Use this recipe to create a hearty stew suitable for a variety of fish.

November 21, 2019

Spanish, king or cero mackerel work well for this hearty stew, cooked in one pot for simplicity and fast preparation, and served with a slice of crusty bread smeared with Old Bay aioli.

Mackerel Fish Stew Creole
Mackerel fish stew creole with clams, shrimp, octopus, and Old Bay aioli toast pair well with a gin and tonic. Bill Doster


Mackerel Fish Stew Creole

Fish Stew


⋅2 quarts fish stock

⋅4 mackerel fillets, 6 ounces each

⋅4-8 heads-on shrimp


⋅4-8 clams

⋅1 1⁄2 cups octopus or squid chunks

⋅2 Tbsp. paprika


⋅2 Tbsp. gumbo file

⋅1⁄2 cup garlic, chopped

⋅2 Tbsp. parsley, chopped


⋅2 Tbsp. chives, chopped

⋅2 Tbsp. tarragon, chopped

⋅3 Tbsp. salt

⋅1⁄4 cup lemon zest and juice

⋅1 Tbsp. olive oil

⋅2 Tbsp. butter

Cooking everything in one skillet
From searing the fish and seafood to making the broth, and adding herbs and spices, the entire stew is made in a single saucepan. Bill Doster

1. Add gumbo file and paprika to the fish stock, stir, and set aside.

2. Salt mackerel fillets and shrimp.

3. Place a large saucepan with olive oil over medium heat until it starts to smoke, then add the fish and shrimp to sear for 3 to 4 minutes. Flip while cooking.

4. Add the clams, then the octopus a minute later, and cook another 3 to 4 minutes, stirring periodically. Remove the fish fillets and reserve for plating, then pour the fish stock in the pan and lower the heat.

5. Add butter to thicken the broth and simmer a couple of minutes, then add the chopped herbs, lemon zest and juice, and continue to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring periodically.

6. Transfer everything to a large bowl.

Old Bay aioli on toast
Old Bay aioli on grilled or toasted crusty bread creates the ideal accompaniment for this delicious stew. Bill Doster

Toast With Old Bay Aioli

⋅3 Tbsp. Old Bay seasoning

⋅2 cups mayonnaise

⋅2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

⋅1⁄2 Tbsp. olive oil

1. Combine Old Bay, mayo and red wine vinegar, and mix thoroughly.

2. Sprinkle a little olive oil on sliced sourdough, Italian loaf or similar crusty bread, then grill or toast right before plating.


1. Serve equal amounts of seafood in soup bowls, add a mackerel fillet in each, and ladle the broth on top.

2. Spread the aioli mix on the bread, sprinkle a bit of mixed herbs, and serve a slice with every bowl of stew.


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