Each year as a cook and food blogger, I take advantage of the fact that I’m a faithful person observing Lent who needs to get a little more fish in her life. (I am a progressive Christian– a lifelong Presbyterian worshiping with the United Church of Christ.)
Growing up in the mid-west and living off and on in the Twin Cities during the last decade, I am attached to spring things like “Fish Fridays” at the local bars during Lent. In Minnesota and Wisconsin, large Roman Catholic and Lutheran populations fueled the fire for fish that continues happily for them, but also for other local believers or non-believers. Sometimes it’s an “all you can eat” fish fry that includes fries, coleslaw and copious amounts of tartar sauce. Even churches or firehouses get involved with frying fish, but generally folks just head to the corner establishment for their fix celebrating the near end of snow. If you’re a long-time More Time reader, you’ll recall this story from other years.
Here in Colorado Springs, we, too, put our toes into the Friday Fish Fry waters and you can search out a mid-west bar like Tony’s downtown on Tejon or a few other watering holes for your fish and fries and brews. And while Dave and I sometimes run down to Tony’s with friends for Fish and Schlitz (I know, I know), we more often look at cooking new fish or seafood meals for ourselves at home just to be healthy and happy–like the two salmon dishes below. Read why here.
Click for recipe-Quick Salmon-Irish Cheddar Chowder–Perfect for St. Pat’s Day
On a long-ago Christmas Eve, I made a 7-fishes fish and seafood stew that broke the bank, but filled our holiday tummies so happily. The base for the soup could be made a day or two ahead and reheated late that evening to a gentle boil that swiftly cooked the fish for a truly fast meal. Big hunks of crusty bread did double duty of filling us and getting all the yummy broth up from the bottom of the bowls. I’m sure I had a recipe for it, but searching through my note books and recipe cards, it was nowhere to be found. For 2017’s first Friday Fish, I attempted to half-way recreate the flavors from memory while using just one fish along with peeled, deveined, tails-on shrimp–plenty for two people and within budget. The addition of some “meaty” beans for texture, taste, color, and fiber, was a last minute thought, as was the lemon cooked in the broth. Many seafood stews feature potatoes, but I just liked the idea of the beans and it decreased the cooking time as well. The lemon cheerfully perked up the already-tasty broth.
This is speedy despite its full-meal appearance because there’s little to cook faster than fish. Set the table and open the wine (keep it chilled) before you begin because it must be served immediately or the fish will over-cook. Think like you’re cooking pasta–folks at the table before you serve. Here’s the basic drill: sauté vegetables with herbs and spices, add and bring liquids to a boil, lower heat/cook a little while, and end it all with just a couple of minutes poaching the fish in that aromatic broth — in this case orange roughy–and shrimp. While the soup base simmers (or make a day or two ahead and refrigerate), you make grilled garlic bread for all that dipping and dunking.
(above: soup base)
Don’t have these ingredients? My recipe is flexible, too. Follow the basic thread of instructions, but a few changes or substitutions won’t hurt a tad. Use canned tomatoes in place of fresh, skip the fennel, add chopped asparagus, sub basil for the thyme, add the fish you have in the freezer… In other words, make this dish your own. I include instructions for serving a vegan or vegetarian portion or two while still making the fish meal for the pescetarians and carnivores. Try this:
FISH AND SHRIMP STEW WITH WHITE BEANS
Large shallow bowls are perfect for this stew so you can enjoy seeing the fish and seafood and happily dunk the garlic bread. If you don’t have them, make this fast meal anyway– whatever bowls you have will do. Frozen or defrosted fish fillets and/or shrimp are fine here. Be careful to not overcook the fish and shrimp; have everything, including people, at the table before you serve.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Crushed red pepper
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 fennel bulb, diced (save fronds for garnish)
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- Small handful fresh parsley, minced
- 2 teaspoons dry thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup clam juice (8 ounce bottle) or fish stock (Use water or vegetable stock if making or serving vegan/vegetarian version or portion)
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken (or vegetable broth for vegan/vegetarian version)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 lemon, cut into quarters
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1/4 cup frozen green peas, optional
- 1 cup cooked cannellini or great northern beans
- 1 diced Orange Roughy fillet (8 ounces or 1/2 pound) –can sub other firm thick white fish–see below for other possibilities
- 1/2 pound (8 ounces) peeled and deveined shrimp, tails on
- Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, garnish
- 6-8 slices grilled garlic bread for dunking* –can sub any crusty bread
In a six-quart heavy pot, warm olive oil over medium heat; add a pinch of crushed red pepper and let cook for a few seconds. Stir in onions, celery, and fennel; season with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Let cook a few minutes until vegetables are softened, adding parsley and garlic the last minute or two. Season, stirring, with thyme, fennel seed, and bay leaf.
Pour in white wine and stir up from bottom to incorporate any browned bits. Stir in clam juice, broth, and water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to just a simmer. Add lemon and let cook 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Taste and adjust seasonings. Remove lemon from pot and discard.
Preheat oven to 200. Warm bowls. Grill garlic bread* if you haven’t done it yet.
Stir in tomato, peas, and beans; bring to a low boil. (If dividing between vegans/vegetarians carnivores, remove the fish-less portions now and keep warm in oven. If making a totally vegan/vegetarian version, skip fish and continue below.) Stir in fish. Cook 1 minute; add shrimp. Cook another minute or so or until fish and shrimp are opaque. Do not overcook. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Serve immediately in warmed bowls garnished with reserved fennel fronds (chopped or not), grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (skip for vegan version), and grilled garlic bread.
Whoever gets the bay leaf does the dishes.
LEFTOVERS: Do what you can to avoid leftovers here and make only what you need. That said, I did have leftover fresh fish and shrimp that I hadn’t used in the stew. I pan-sautéed the fish fillet in the skillet with the garlic butter I made from the garlic bread and quickly grilled the rest of the shrimp in the grill pan I grilled the garlic bread in! I kept that for two days in the fridge along with a small container of the leftover stew. I would have eaten it all the very next day but a short-lived illness intervened. Really, who keeps fish two days? But on the second day after cooking, being unwilling to toss it all, I heated the stew, added the extra fish and shrimp and had enough happy lunch for two. While the fish might have lost a little for waiting, everything was perfectly edible and actually good. I had a couple of pieces of the garlic bread left and threw it under the broiler for a minute or two to heat and crisp it. No complaints. Full bellies.
Other firm white fish you might use: Alaska pollock, catfish, grouper, haddock, Pacific cod, Pacific halibut, Pacific rockfish, Pacific sand dab & sole, striped bass (wild and hybrid), swordfish
Want more fish and seafood from More Time? Check out “Fish Fridays” or “Fish and Seafood” in the search box on the blog or put in specific things like “Salmon” or “Shrimp” for other possibilities. While you won’t find deep-fried fish (go to Tony’s for that!), you’ll discover lots of dishes you might come to love.
NEED MORE FISH INFO?
For a bunch of glorious seafood recipes, check out this blog list.
Or visit Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sustainable Seafood recipe recommendations.
Wondering about how much or which fish to eat? (Harvard School of Health)
Cook some new fish,