It’s the time to reset, re-gear, reorganize, and re-think our strategies.
Our opportunities are more limited now than they are at other times of the year, and if you’re like me, your eyes are already looking towards Spring. Or as I like to think of it, Angler’s New Year.
Many of us have recently been hitting the sportsman’s shows, checking out new gear and techniques that we’re itching to get out and try. We’re re-spooling reels w/fresh line, cleaning and organizing our lures, and staring at our calendars wondering why those pages are being so damned slow to flip.
And it’s time we should be clearing out our freezers. Most of us have at least a few vacuum sealed pouches of last season’s catch still tucked away. That is some damned fine eating that we don’t want to waste, but we all know that last Fall’s catch loses at little bit of its appeal in our eyes when we bring that first Springer home. So let’s enjoy that fish we have stored away now, and make room to start loading the freezer with the upcoming season’s take.
Making a pot of soup is a great way to utilize freezer stock, especially if you have a bit of this and a bit of that to use up. I made a video last year on how to make base chowder recipe that you can use with any type of seafood you like. The recipe I have for you today is similar in that way. Despite the fact that it has a vastly different flavor profile than a chowder, this Brazilian style stew works with just about any seafood, or combination of seafoods, you can think of. Plus, as this stew is built on a richly flavorful foundation of lime, tomato, and coconut, it is a great recipe to use with that fish that may have been in the freezer a touch too long, and has a slightly stronger flavor than is ideal.
I will confess before I give you the recipe, this is very much my spin on this stew. I’ve made this many times for my customers at work, and over the years I’ve added some non-traditional tweaks, such as green curry paste, that I feel really liven the dish up.
Brazilian Seafood Stew
Right now, my culinary professional and “foodie” friends are laughing at me because I did that 80s thing with the shaped cup of rice in the middle of the bowl. Well, suck it guys. Some things are classic for a reason.
- 2 lbs of fish or seafood of your choice, cut into chunks
kosher salt & freshly ground pepper, as needed
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 an onion, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 Tbs grated ginger
1 Tbs green curry paste
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp Sambal Oelek
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 can (28oz) of whole Italian tomatoes
1 can (13.5oz) of coconut milk
1 medium turnip (or potato or parsnip) peeled & diced
1/4 cup of fresh lime juice, about 4 limes worth
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
*optional: cooked rice, lime wedges, cilantro sprigs
Lightly season your fish with salt & pepper.
Add the oil to a large pot, and place it over high heat. Once the oil is very hot, add the seafood, excluding crabmeat if you are using that. Quickly sauté seafood, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds until the fish is lightly cooked on the outside.
Remove the fish from the pot with a slotted spoon.
Immediately add the onions and peppers to the pot, and sauté for 4 minutes until they begin to become translucent. Stir in the garlic, ginger, curry paste, coriander, cumin, and Sambal. Continue sautéing for 2 more minutes, then add in the wine.
Reduce the heat to medium. Add in the turnips, coconut milk, and tomatoes, breaking up the tomatoes with your hands as you add them in. (You can chop them up with a knife if you prefer.) Add in 2 tsp each of salt & pepper.
Bring the mixture to a simmer, and continue cooking until the turnips are cooked through, about 20 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and cilantro. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Add the seafood back to the pot, including any liquid that may have come off it. Gently stir the seafood, mixing it in without breaking the pieces apart. If you are including crabmeat, add it now as well.
Reduce the heat to low, and leave the pot on the heat just long enough to cook the seafood through, about 2 minutes.
If you decided to make some rice to go with this, which I recommend as rice pairs really well with this stew, and you’re not afraid of appearing a bit behind the times, go ahead and pack a cup full of rice and up-end it into the center of your bowl before ladling stew around it. It really is a good way to enjoy a big bowl of this tropical spin on your local catch. Finish it off with wedge of lime, and a couple sprigs of cilantro to brighten up the presentation.
Oh, and if you want to complete that tropical experience, I recommend accompanying this with a good, sipping rum. This is one of the bottles I picked up during my recent trip to the Caribbean, and it’s become my newest love … umm, favorite.
I know what you’re thinking. Patrick, you just threw that in because you wanted to show off the cool bottle of rum you picked up on vacation.
All I can say to that is: Yes, that is absolutely true.