By Lindenberg Junior
I closed my eyes and transported myself to my favorite fishing places in Brazil for a great seafood. I imagined myself in Porto de Galinha beach (60 km south from Recife, the city where I was born) or in the spectacular colonial town of Olinda (both in the state of Pernambuco). Returning to reality, I took the phone, made some calls, and went to the kitchen. The result was this robust Portuguese-influenced seafood stew. It’s a whole meal in a bowl, teeming with seafood, a host of vegetables and garnished, traditionally with halved hard-cooked eggs.
4 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large onion, quartered and sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 chayote, peeled and diced
1 zucchini, cut into ¾ inch, dice
4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 tsp mild paprika
1 1/2 tsp dry oregano
4 cups fish stock
12 red tiny new potatoes
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 p firm white-fleshed fish fillets
(Such as snapper or halibut)
12 oz. cleaned squid (cut into rings)
1 Lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Lb mussels
1/4 cup sliced scallion greens
1/2 cup Italian parsley, minced
3 hard-cooked eggs, halved
How to make
1) In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, peppers and cook for 4 min or until the onion wilts. Add the carrots, chayote, and zucchini; cover, cook over low heat for 5 min. Stir in the tomatoes, and cook until reduced to a puree, about 7 min. Stir paprika and oregano. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Add the potatoes, salt and pepper to taste, and cook, uncovered, over low heat, until potatoes and chayote are tender, about 15 min.
2) While the liquid is cooking, place the fish, squid, shrimp, and mussels in separated bowls. Rub each with salt and pepper, and toss each with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
3) Add the fish and mussels to the liquid and cook for 5 min, until opaque. Add the shrimp and the squid and cook until just tender, about 2 min. Do not overcook. Adjust the seasoning and add the scallions, parsley, and additional lemon juice, to taste.
4) Ladle the stew into bowls, garnish with hard-cooked egg and serve at once.