Farmers market fish stew
Special to AmNews | , Kysha Harris | 10/12/2012, 4:25 p.m.
Last week, I wrote about the great experience I had at one of the farmers markets in Harlem. I bought a smorgasbord of ingredients with the intention of knowing at least one dish I would make: a fish stew that is quick, easy and so delicious.
This recipe for fish stew calls for two everyday cooking tasks: homemade chicken stock and good knife skills. Don't freak out yet though! You might be ahead of the game and be more adept than you know.
For the first, homemade chicken stock, you can refer to a previous Talking SCHOP! ("Back to Basics," Sept. 23, 2010) about roasting chicken and chicken stocks. It is very easy to make and you can stock up your freezer for use in soups, stews and sauces.
You can also make this fish stew with a seafood or vegetable stock if necessary. However, the first time I had this dish I knew that the richness I tasted could only come from a chicken stock.
The second everyday cooking task is a knife skill called brunoise. That means to cut in a petite dice. Do this first by cutting planks, then sticks, then dice. (SCHOP! Tip: Always create a flat stable surface on the vegetable before you begin slicing or dicing by cutting onions in half first or cutting a little off of the long side of a carrot. There are videos online you can review before your attempt.)
I brunoise the mirepoix (carrots, celery and onion) in this recipe for shorter cooking time and a consistent mouth feel, but feel free to cut larger, equally sized pieces if you are so inclined. You may also substitute or add shallots or leeks to the mix. Either way, it will warm the cockles!
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large carrot, brunoise (can add more for sweetness)
2 celery stalks, brunoise, celery leaves reserved
1 medium-large yellow or white onion, brunoise
3 cloves fresh garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt (see NOTE)
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon of crushed red pepper (optional)
2 medium bay leaves
1/4 cup sherry or white wine (optional)
1 pound white flaky fish like hake, tilapia, roughly cut into half-inch pieces
4 cups homemade chicken stock (NOTE: You can substitute bouillon or canned stock here, but you MUST wait to add the 1 teaspoon of salt, only as needed, towards the end of the recipe) plus up to 2 cups of water as needed to cover
2 plum or San Marzano tomatoes, seeded (seeds removed) and diced
1/2 cup chopped parsley and celery leaves
Heat Dutch oven over medium flame. Add olive oil and mirepoix and saute for 3 minutes. Add garlic, salt (if using a no sodium stock), pepper, crushed red pepper, bay leaves and saute for another 3 minutes or until onions are just opaque. Optional: Deglaze pan with the sherry or wine just until the liquid has evaporated.
Add fish and stir to combine. Add stock, any additional water to cover and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and let cook for 15-20 minutes until the fish falls apart. Use the back of a wooden spoon to smash remaining pieces of fish against the side of the pot.
Remove bay leaves, stir in chopped celery leaves and parsley. Re-season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls, garnish with splash of extra virgin olive oil.
Serve this deliciousness with crusty, warm bread; a big, big salad of greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, radish, parsley, onion; a simple balsamic vinaigrette; and a great bottle of wine. It's the perfect meal on an easy Sunday night.
Enjoy, get eating and thanks for reading!
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Kysha Harris is owner of SCHOP! SCHOP! is available for weekly service or for home entertaining. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? E-mail kysha@iSCHOP.com.