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Moqueca de Peixe (Brazilian fish stew)

(Ben Fink)
June 2, 2010

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Serves 4

Later in the summer, make this with striped bass. Now you can use haddock, cod, halibut, another firm-fleshed white fish, or shrimp and crab. The stew is typically served over farofa, which is toasted manioc flour, or rice.

1 scallion, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 piece (1 inch) fresh ginger, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
5 tablespoons dende oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 pounds firm-fleshed white fish, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 green bell pepper, cored and chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, cored and chopped
1 1/2 cups fish stock
1 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup canned hearts of palm, drained and diced
2 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
1. In a bowl, combine half the scallion, half the onion, half the ginger, and half the garlic. Add 2 tablespoons of the dende oil, the olive oil, and half the cilantro. Add the fish, turn well, cover and refrigerate, turning occasionally, for 3 hours.

2. Remove the fish from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.

3. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Have on hand a 10-inch baking dish.

4. In a large flameproof casserole over medium heat, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of dende oil. When it is hot, add the remaining scallion, onion, and green and yellow bell peppers. Cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes.

5. Add the remaining ginger and garlic. Cook 1 minute more.

6. Add the fish stock and bring to a boil. Add the coconut milk and tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the mixture returns to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

7. Spread the fish in the baking dish. Add lemon juice, salt, and black pepper. Roast for 10 minutes or until firm and opaque.

8. Carefully transfer the fish to the sauce. Pour in any remaining juices from marinating and from roasting. Cover and cook over low heat for 5 minutes or until the flavors are well blended.

9. Add the hearts of palm and tomatoes. Cook for 2 minutes or until they are hot. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and black pepper, if you like.

Adapted from “The Brazilian Kitchen’’