It’s pretty safe to say that the summer heat has certainly settled in around us. Scorching days with record-setting temperatures don’t typically inspire us spend a lot of time in our kitchens slaving over a hot stove.
But summertime is the perfect time to cook a dish like the one we’re featuring this week. Using fresh fish along with herbs and vegetables straight from your garden or farmer’s market, you can create a light and delicious meal without even breaking a sweat.
Many thanks to our South American correspondent for another tasty Brazilian recipe!
São Paulo, BR. — The fishing tradition and heritage of indigenous culture in Brazil, profoundly influenced regional Capixaba cuisine, making it eclectic, a product of many influences such as Portuguese, Africans and peoples of northern Europe. To explain, Capixaba refers to people from Espirito Santo, a heavily-forested state on the eastern coast of Brazil. Rovena, a member of the All Habs team, is Capixaba.
With the arrival of other European immigrants new dishes were added to the Capixaba cuisine. Among the most famous dishes we can mention is Moqueca, a delicious seafood stew made with onions, garlic, cilantro and coconut milk.
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup canned or jarred hearts of palm, drained and diced
2 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
5 tablespoons dendê oil (you can use extra-virgin olive oil or peanut oil)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 1/4 pounds sea bass, cut into 2-inch chunks
1/2 cup freshly chopped green bell pepper
1/3 cup freshly chopped yellow bell pepper
1 1/2 cups fish stock (you can substitute clam juice, low-sodium chicken broth, or equal amounts of both)
1 scallion (white and green parts), chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 small piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup coconut milk
1. In a bowl, mix together half of the scallion, half of the onion, half of the ginger, and half of the garlic. Add 2 tablespoons of the dendê oil, all of the olive oil, and half of the cilantro. Place the chunks of fish in a resealable plastic bag and add the marinade, pressing the bag to evenly coat the fish. Remove all of the air from the plastic bag and seal it. Place the bag in a shallow bowl, making sure the chunks of fish are completely covered by the marinade, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
2. Take the fish out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat the oven to 175C(350F)
3. Place the remaining 3 tablespoons of the dendê oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the remaining scallion and onion along with the green and yellow bell peppers, and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.
4. Add the remaining ginger and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring to combine, for another minute or until it’s hot. Add the fish stock and let it come to a full boil. Add the coconut milk and tomato paste and return to a boil. Immediately lower the heat to medium-low or so and simmer the sauce, nice and gently, while you prepare the fish.
5. In the meantime, place the fish and its marinade in a gratin or casserole dish. Pour the lemon juice on top and season lightly with salt and pepper. Bake until the fish is almost but not quite cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.
6. Carefully transfer each chunk of fish to the pan with the gently simmering sauce. Add any juices in the dish from the fish and marinade. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and cook just until the fish is soft and tender, 5 to 8 minutes.
7. Uncover the pan, add the hearts of palm and tomatoes, and just let them get hot, which will take only a minute or two.
8. Taste the moqueca, season it with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with the remaining fresh cilantro.
Moqueca de Camarão: Substitute shrimp for the fish. A very popular variation.
Use any type of seafood you like: crab, mussels, lobster.
For a lighter stew, substitute water or stock for 1 cup of the coconut milk.
photo credit: www.1-2-3artdinner.com
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