Seafood Stew

by Rachel on March 1, 2010

Make this your go-to dish. You'll be glad you did.

This is my signature dish.  Loved by all members of my family it is often chosen as the dish of choice for birthdays.  It has been served at all manner of parties, large and small, formal and informal to guests from near and far.  My dear friend Erika (In Erika’s Kitchen) adopted a version of it into her regular dinner rotation and I couldn’t be more proud.  It meets all of my food requirements.  It is flavorful, easy to prepare, can stand alone for dinner if I don’t have energy for side dishes, looks fabulous, and it’s good for you.  Really, if you need more than that you’re asking too much.  Do you have a go-to recipe that you use for both parties and weekday dinners? If you do, I’d love to hear about it and try it.  Leave me a note about it in the comments – and give this go-to recipe a shot.

Seafood Stew (8-10 servings)

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 tablespoons fresh limejuice
  • 4 pounds fish cut into one-inch cubes (I use a mix of salmon and halibut, or swordfish – any steaky fish will do)
  • 1 ½ cups chopped yellow onion (one large, one small)
  • 1 orange and 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 1 can full fat unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cup low fat unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • cooked white or brown rice

Whisk 2 tablespoons oil and limejuice in a large mixing bowl.  Add fish and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, stir to coat.  Let stand 15 minutes.  If you leave it any longer than 15 minutes the lime juice will start to “cook” the fish.  You really don’t want this to happen, at least not for this particular dish.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onion, bell peppers, garlic, crushed red pepper; sauté seven minutes.  Mix in tomatoes, coconut milk, half of the cilantro, and half the green onions.  The recipe can be done ahead to this point.  I often complete these steps just before my guests arrive.  The stew can safely sit on the stovetop for an hour or so.  Ten minutes before serving add the fish and limejuice marinade.  Simmer until the fish is just opaque in the center, about ten minutes.  Don’t stir very vigorously.  The fish will break into little tiny unappetizing bits if you go at it too aggressively.  Channel your inner gentle child.  Once the fish is cooked through season with salt and pepper (it takes at least 1 teaspoon salt).

Serve over rice.  Make sure you serve the broth.  It’s delicious and is an important part of the dish.  Sprinkle with cilantro and green onions.  You’ll want to set the table with soup spoons as well as forks and knives so that your guests can eat every last drop of the broth.

A great side dish with this meal is mache (also known as lamb’s lettuce) with the Simple Salad Dressing I posted in December.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Sorry For The Convenience March 1, 2010 at 9:36 am

Mmmmmm. Might actually get me to eat fish, which usually takes some doing.

Also, I had a friend in high school whose nickname was “Seafood Stu.” Must have gotten that from a similar recipe.

Rachel March 1, 2010 at 9:43 am

Sorry for the Convenience: Apparently I should have been hanging out with Seafood Stu since I was Rachel Stroganoff. Between the two of us we were quite a feast! I wonder if there are other folks out there with food nicknames?

Sorry For The Convenience March 1, 2010 at 9:45 am

It’s possible I’m embellishing a little on the Seafood Stu story, but … artistic license and all. Well, had he existed, you two would have made quite a couple.

Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer March 1, 2010 at 10:11 am

WOW looks amazing – I cannot wait to make this one! Perfect for a cozy rainy night… OK or any night! :)

Rachel March 1, 2010 at 10:17 am

Cathy – don’t wait for it to rain, last I checked you live in LOS ANGELES, or nearby. If you lived in Portland I’d be willing to have you save it for a rainy night! In LA we have to make cozy food even when the sun shines! It’s our curse.

marti March 1, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Oh my goodness, this looks so amazing! Really! I have to try this!

Rachel March 1, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Marti: Thanks for the kind words. It is absolutely my favorite dish. I hope you like it too!

Rachel March 1, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Hey Marti- I just read your blog. I love your writing style and the subject matter. Glad to make your blog acquaintance. I’ve added you to my blogroll and I promise to be back on your site soon.

Carrie March 2, 2010 at 5:48 am

I’ve never had a stew like this before. It looks so healthy and delicious, and it’s such a pretty color!

Dawn Hutchins March 2, 2010 at 7:47 am

What a lovely signature dish. The steaky fish really makes it hearty. And your blog is just gorgeous! Great job!

Rachel March 2, 2010 at 7:54 am

Hi Dawn: Your blog is lovely too. I spend a lot of time thinking about gratitude. If I were you, I would be totally grateful for your new bathroom, it totally rocks!

Lauren W March 2, 2010 at 11:35 am

YUM! Love the half fat free, half full fat coconut milk idea! We love seafood, so I will be trying this soon. Thanks for sharing!!

Marisa March 5, 2010 at 3:05 pm

This soup looks delicious! Love the color of it too!

Erina March 28, 2010 at 10:51 am

This recipe looks amazing!!

Here’s another fave recipe of mine:

Let me know what you think!

Rachel March 28, 2010 at 10:56 am

Erina: Yours looks great but LOADS of work!! My stew takes just a few minutes to pull together. I’m fond of speed!

Kim July 22, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Thank you for this really good recipe. I made it with cod because it was much less expensive than the halibut. It turned out delicious! I can’t wait to make it for a small crowd!

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