Blue-eye in a spicy broth with clams

Mussels and pippies also work well in this dish. It's important to soak clams well to avoid a gritty dinner.


  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • ½ tbsp roasted fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp smoky sweet paprika
  • ½ tsp mild chilli flakes
  • 200g fresh peas in their pod
  • ½ bunch asparagus
  • 4 x 150g blue-eye fillets
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • 50g Spanish chorizo, finely diced
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 600g clams, soaked in cold water 1 hour
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Small handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped


In a mortar with a pestle, pound garlic, ginger, fennel seeds and ½ tsp salt into a rough paste. Add paprika and chilli flakes and pound a little more.

Pod the peas. Remove woody ends from asparagus and cut into 2-3cm lengths.

Season fish fillets with ¼ tsp salt. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a deep frying pan over a high heat and when hot, sear fish on both sides to get a nice crust. Remove and set to one side. Heat remaining oil in pan and add onion, chorizo and ¼ tsp salt. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the spice paste and cook for 2 more minutes. Deglaze with wine and simmer for a few minutes.

Add the peas, asparagus, stock and clams, then bring to a simmer for 2 minutes. Return fish to the pan and simmer, covered, for another 3-5 minutes, until the fish has cooked through and the clams have opened. Remove from the heat and gently stir through the butter. Give a good grind of pepper, taste for seasoning and stir through the parsley.

Divide fish among four bowls, spoon the juices and clams over the fish and serve immediately, with a couple of extra bowls for discarding the clam shells.

NOTES: Want something to drink?
The chardonnays of Chablis are made in a mineral-driven style, usually without the adulteration of oak. This 2010 vintage from Bernard Defaix has archetypal Chablis-yellow citrus, crushed rock, beeswax and oyster shell racing on the palate, creating a fantastic match with seafood – shellfish in particular.

First published in the Good Weekend.

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