Sunday, July 22, 2007

Caldeirada de Peixe (Fish Stew)

There is NOTHING I love more than a really good Fish Stew and growing up I remember eating this delicious fragrant stew quite often. My brothers would turn their noses at it because they hated fish, but I really enjoyed it.

I think the best Caldeirada (Fish Stew) I ever tasted was actually while living in portugal. We took a road trip to Ponta de Sagres and while overlooking the ocean, sitting at the quaint and beautiful little tables outside, we had the BEST Fish stew ever....makes my mouth water. Here is a great version of this delicious stew...enjoy!!!

CALDEIRADA DE PEIXE (FISH STEW)


Ingredients

  • 1 pound Bluefish, cut into 2 inch chunks
  • 1 pound Striped Bass, cut into 2 inch chunks
  • 1 pound Cod, cut into 2 inch chunks
  • 2 large Yellow onions, thinly sliced (about 3 to 4 cups)
  • 2 Green bell peppers, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 Large Red Bliss or Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 3 large very ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced or 2 14.5 oz. cans of diced tomato (if it's not August and the tomatoes aren't from your garden or the farm stand, use the canned)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 3 small whole bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 loaf of crusty bread

Directions

  • In a large (10 quarts or larger) dutch oven or stock pot, drizzle in a tablespoon of the olive oil. Set the burner under the pot to medium high and let the pot heat for about three minutes or until the oil just begins to emit faint wisps of smoke.
  • Add the bay leaves and cook the bay leaves in the oil until they become fragrant and just begin to turn brown — it should take less than a minute. Turn off the heat and remove and set aside all but one of the bay leaves.
  • Add the bluefish (or whatever oily fish you are using) in a single layer on the bottom of the pot. Sprinkle on some salt and freshly ground pepper. Over the fish add one half of the onions, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, parsley and one bay leaf.
  • Repeat this layering process with the striped bass (or whatever firm fish you are using), followed by the remaining vegetables, garlic, parsley and bay leaf.
  • Add the cod in a final layer and sprinkle over it one tablespoon of the cilantro, the remaining olive oil, the white wine and some more salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • Cover the pot and turn the burner to its medium setting. Listen closely to the pot for the next fifteen minutes or so, and when you begin to hear beginnings of boiling or sizzling, turn the burner to its lowest setting.
  • Stew the Caldeirada for 30 to 45 minutes, giving the pot a good firm shake or two every 10 minutes or so to make sure that nothing sticks to the bottom.
  • To serve, tear or slice off pieces of crusty bread from the loaf and place them in the bottom of each bowl. Spoon the Caldeirada over the bread, being sure to include a little bit of something from each layer. Sprinkle a bit of the remaining chopped cilantro over each bowl and eat.

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