With the arrival of spring, it's time for lighter dishes and fresh flavours. Philippa Davis' portuguese-style mussel stew with watercress, garlic, white wine and coriander makes for the perfect early spring supper

It’s time to move away from hearty, meat feasts and embrace lighter suppers and fresh flavours. Philippa Davis’ portuguese-style mussel stew with watercress, garlic, white wine and coriander brings spring ingredients into the kitchen, but is warming enough for those chilly days. The hot and peppery watercress livens up the dish, while the garlic, coriander and wine give depth.

When spring hasn’t quite sprung, fish stews are a favourite. Try our fish stew with spring onions, leeks, saffron and watercress for a spring supper that will easily feed a crowd.


Fish stews are one of my favourite early spring suppers. They are lighter than the hearty, meaty, winter versions but can still have lots of bold flavours and provide the right level of comfort and satisfaction until the weather properly warms up. The watercress adds a bright, clean flavour while the boldness of the garlic, coriander and wine give it depth.

Serves 2

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 8 large cloves garlic, peeled and lightly smashed with the back of a knife
  • 27g coriander, stalks finely chopped, leaves roughly chopped
  • 4 slices jamon, roughly chopped
  • 2 red peppers, deseeded and each chopped into eight
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 2 medium potatoes, scrubbed and chopped into six
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2kg mussels, cleaned
  • 50g watercress, roughly chopped

In a large saucepan, gently sauté the onion, garlic, chopped coriander stalks, jamon and peppers in the olive oil with some seasoning until softened, about 15 minutes.

Add the wine, potatoes, bay leaves and chopped tomatoes. Rinse the can out with cold water and add this to the pan, too.

Season and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are just soft, stirring often.

Check the seasoning then add the mussels and cover with a lid.

Cook for about 5 minutes or until the mussels have opened, then stir in the watercress.

Serve straight away.