Fishermen’s Stew Of Graciosa

Fishermen's Stew Of Graciosa

When I saw this recipe on fish stews on NPR, I had to give one of them a shot. I really only started eating fish when I left my parents house and went to college. My dad hates fish, my mom only really likes tuna fish and my brother is crazy about salmon, but not much else in the fish world. I however, ADORE fish. It is also the one exception I make to my vegetarian diet so Jake and I can cook and eat a meat dish together every once in a while. This recipe intrigued me. I hadn’t heard of a stew like this before. I really wanted to use halibut because I thought it would go well with the ingredients listed for the recipe, but it is so dang expensive (especially on our current budget) that I just couldn’t justify it. Safeway was having a sale on frozen cod, so I ended up using that in this recipe, but I’ll always look at this recipe and sigh wistfully remembering the big chunks of fleshy halibut from Jake and I’s Alaskan fishing trip a couple summers ago and think about what might’ve been. Of course, I guess I could just wait till halibut goes on sale and make this again, but nothing is ever the same as a first taste.

You can see a photo below of our lovely set table with the food ready to be eaten. The wine, which I honestly picked because I thought the picture was rad, was terrible. Don’t bother trying that kind at the store. The big red bowl of white is actually red mashed potatoes (skin on) with roasted garlic mashed in. I roasted the garlic by placing it in a small ovenproof dish I had, pouring olive oil over the top and putting it in the toaster oven for 15 minutes at 250F. The cod pieces are in the middle of the table on the plate. Jake and I have a bowl of the stew dished up and a small plate to hold our mashed potatoes and bread chunks. By the end of dinner I was actually eating up my mashed potatoes with the leftover soup broth. Yum! As you can tell, I make damn sure that my man doesn’t starve to death here in Arizona! 😉

Fishermen’s Stew Of Graciosa
for the stew:
4 pounds any thick cuts of white fish (halibut, hake, pollock or cod), cut into 1-inch-thick steaks or thick serving-sized fillets
1 quart water or enough to barely cover the fish
3 sprigs parsley
2 medium onions, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
3 bay leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

for the seasoning paste:
7 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2 pickled chili peppers, each about 1 inch long, finely chopped (optional)
1 teaspoon paprika
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup wine vinegar

1. In the bottom of an 8-quart pot, layer the fish and pour in enough cold water to barely cover it. Add the parsley, onions, bay leaves, salt and olive oil.
2. Cover tightly, place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently until the fish is opaque, about 20 minutes.
3. Using a large mortar and pestle, or if you do not have a mortar and pestle or yours is not large enough, make the paste in a medium bowl using the back of a spoon or a fork, mash the garlic with the salt, forming a paste.
4. Mash in the cumin, parsley, chili peppers and safflower.
5. Stir in the tomato paste, sugar and nutmeg.
6. Drizzle in the olive oil followed by the vinegar.
7. Stir to blend the ingredients well.
8. With a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked fish to a serving dish. Cover and keep warm.
9. Whisk the seasoning paste into the fish broth, making sure it is well dispersed.
10. Simmer about 5 minutes over medium-low heat.
11. Ladle some of the seasoned broth over the fish and serve remaining broth on the side. Or place generous pieces of fish in individual soup plates and spoon the broth over it. Serve with plenty of bread to dip in the broth.

A fishy Thursday night dinner

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