Omega-3 Italian Fish Stew with Garlic and Saffron

This recipe is inspired by an amazing day on the Southern Adriatic coast. After teaching a Qigong workshop in Italy, I spent a few magical days in the charming beach town of Sirolo. Of course there’s nothing to do but relax and eat fish! The sky and sea were calm and brilliant blue. We lounged under umbrellas all day, while the aroma of roasted garlic, olives, and the freshest fish beckoned us from the restaurant. 

Authentic Mediterranean fish stew is brimming with garlic, saffron, and Omega-3 fatty acids. This Paleo-adapted version is low in carbs, using tasty celeriac instead of potatoes. Saffron is an anti-cancer brain booster that pairs well with fish, and is also said to have aphrodisiac qualities. Those Italians know everything! Wild oily fish is one of the world’s most potent brain foods. However large wild fish contains mercury and is often over-fished, so it’s best to eat smaller wild fish. Small fish reproduce more quickly and have lower concentrations of toxins. To minimize mercury, avoid large fish such as tuna, swordfish, bluefish, cod, and halibut. Instead look for smaller wild fish such as salmon, sardines, anchovies, mackerel, or herring.

Nutrition Tip: Arctic Fish Oil is loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids. I’m always looking for an opportunity to enrich my diet with Omega-3 oils, so now I serve fish with a generous drizzle of arctic fish oil, right at the table! Arctic fish oil is delicate and should never be cooked, however you can really boost nutrients and delicious flavor by adding it at the table.

How to make fish broth:
The secret to flavor and nutrition in any soup is the broth. You can buy fish broth, however homemade broth is easy, fresher, tastier, and safer. Go to your local healthy grocery or fish market and ask for 2-3 pounds of wild small fish cuttings, bones, skin heads, and tails of salmon, sardines, anchovies, or herring. You may need to order it if you live far from the ocean as I do. Freeze if desired. When you’re ready, whip out your soup pot or pressure cooker and fill with 8 cups filtered water. Add the fish cuttings, onion, garlic, celery, salt and pepper. Boil for several hours. Strain and save any big pieces of meat. That’s it! You’ll have the best broth. BTW this recipe is completely nightshade-free for easy digestion. Check out my article Beware of Nightshades, Freeze any leftovers in serving-size containers for up to 3 months. Serves 6

We lounged under umbrellas for two days at beautiful Urbani beach and Grotto. The restaurant is nestled in back by the hill.

After teaching my Qigong workshop in Italy, I had a chance to rest and do absolutely nothing for 2 days. The Italian Adriatic town of Sirolo has enchanting beaches and a brilliant blue sea.

Omega-3 Italian Fish Stew with Saffron



  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, cut thinly
  • 8 cups fish stock
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 fennel bulb, cut into bite-size chunks
  • 1 celery root (celeriac) in cubes
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 pinches or 1/2 teaspoon saffron strands
  • Unprocessed salt to taste, and plenty of black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped herbs such as basil, oregano, and/or thyme
  • zest of 1/2 lemon, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon Red Boat Fish Sauce, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (only if you tolerate nightshades)
  • 2 1/2 pounds wild fish, in bite size pieces (salmon, sardines, anchovies, or herring).
  • Serve with:
  • Arctic fish oil - 1 tablespoon per serving. I recommend Nordic Naturals
  • Parsley


  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil. Sauté the garlic, onion and celery until they barely begin to soften.
  2. In a large soup pot, heat the fish stock. Add carrots, fennel, celeriac, and the sautéed onion mixture above. Bring it to a boil and then turn to a low simmer. Add all the other ingredients except the fish: lemon juice, saffron, salt, pepper, herbs, zest, Red Boat Sauce and red pepper, if using. Season the broth to your taste, and make it nice and fishy!
  3. Add the fish last and heat until firm, hardly stirring, so fish remains in large pieces.
  4. Serve with fish oil and parsley on top. Yumm!

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