Yesterday was a rough day. No to go into specifics but a project I was really excited about did a 180 and left me a bit stunned. I spent a better portion of the evening feeling out of sorts as I tried to process the situation and my feelings. Fortunately, The Partner had made some delicious Portuguese Fish Stew the other night and it was the perfect comfort food. Rich and filling, this stew is the perfect thing on a cold night or when you need a little pick me up.
The original recipe is from the Food Network that we have since modified by adding in mussels and chorizo. We removed the kale and the potatoes from the recipe as we found they masked the briny flavor of the seafood and the potatoes had a tendency to overcook making the dish slightly gritty.
Portuguese Fish Stew
Makes 4-6 servings
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons paprika (smoked or sweet)
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 small green bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1/2 pound chorizo sausage
- 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 2 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds skinless striped bass, cut into 2-inch chunks
- 1 pound mussels
- 4 slices crusty bread, toasted
Fill a large bowl with two tablespoons of all-purpose flour and cool water. Place the mussels into the flour and water solution for about 20 minutes. This will help them disgorge any sand that they may have in their system. This step should not be skipped unless you want a sandy fish stew (bleh).
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the bay leaves and paprika and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add the onion, bell pepper, tomatoes, garlic and 2 tablespoons of the cilantro; season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes.
While the vegetables are cooking, debeard and clean your mussels. The” beard” is the little tuft of hair like threads to anchor the mussel to rocks. To remove the beard, using a dry towel, grasp the beard and give a sharp yank out and toward the hinge end of the mussel. This method will not kill the mussel. If you were to pull the beard out towards the opening end of the mussel you can tear the mussel on the inside of the shell, killing it.
Add 1 cup water and reduce the heat to medium low. Season the fish with salt and pepper, then nestle the pieces among the vegetables in the pan. Add the mussels to the top of the dish. Cover and simmer until the fish is just cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes.
Divide the stew among bowls. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro. Serve with the bread.
1) Shellfish are highly perishable and should be bought the same day they are to be consumed. When purchasing, look for shellfish that are tightly closed and smell briny, not fishy. Avoid any that are chipped or leaky as that may be a sign that they are dead.
2) If a shellfish does not open up during cooking, discard it. It is not something you want to eat unless you enjoy frequent trips the bathroom.
3) Feel free to add the kale and potatoes back to this recipe if you like. The 1 cup of chopped kale is added to the sautéed vegetables while 2 boiled Yukon gold potatoes (large dice) are added when you include the tomatoes.