A bowl of this stew is like a tiny little trip to the Mediterranean. It’s unbelievably easy, but I would serve it to guests in a heartbeat. It’s hearty, but still so light and clean and simple.

PROVENCAL FISH STEW

4 tbsp. olive oil, divided

1 small bulb fennel, cored, quartered and chopped (about 1 cup)

1 onion, chopped

1 zucchini, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

½ cup dry white wine

1 (28-oz.) can diced tomatoes

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 tsp. fresh chopped thyme leaves or 1 tsp. dried thyme

Pinch saffron threads (optional)

2 Yukon Gold potatoes (about 8 oz. total), scrubbed or peeled and cut into ½ -inch dice

1½ lbs. flaky white fish, such as cod, scrod or halibut

1 orange, zested and juiced

3 tbsp. halved pitted black olives

2 tbsp. torn fresh basil leaves

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add the fennel and the onions, and saute for 5 minutes until they start to become tender. Add the zucchini and the garlic, season with salt and pepper, and saute for another 3 minutes, until all of the vegetables start to become tender. Add the white wine, and stir to scrap up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Add the tomatoes with their juice, the broth, thyme and saffron, and bring to a simmer; add the potatoes and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the fish with salt and pepper, and sear the filet for 5 to 7 minutes per side, until the fish is just barely cooked through (it depends on the thickness of the fish). It’s fine if it falls apart a bit. Remove and set aside.

When cooled slightly, use a fork to break the fish into 1-inch chunks. Add them to the pot along with the orange zest and juice, and olives, stirring gently to combine.

Serve hot with slivered basil on top of each portion.

Makes four servings.