Bahia-Style Fish Stew

Bahia-Style Fish StewHer Name Is Rio
The Olympics start this week. I am excited to watch, but I admit to not being as excited as in previous Olympic years. Maybe it’s the controversy surrounding the games, or maybe I’m just tired…but I’m just not as into it.

Doesn’t mean I won’t go with a theme—it’s tradition, after all. We gotta have the food of the host country while watching the Opening Ceremonies. There are Brazilian dishes that I love (see this post for two versions of Brazilian Feijoada and Caipirinhas). There aren’t too many that I make with any regularity, because despite being introduced to some great dishes, Brazilian food still remains a bit of a mystery to me. Also, until recently, it has been challenging to find all of the ingredients. The good news is that has changed.

One of the first Brazilian dishes I ever made was this Bahia-style Fish Stew. My husband ate so much he made himself sick. It’s definitely tasty, though don’t expect to find it on the Olympic training tables, ‘cause it will blow your diet. It would, however, be a great way to celebrate the Olympic spirit Rio style.

Bahia-Style Fish Stew
Serves 2-4

3 pounds of white fish steaks (cod and halibut work well)
Juice of 3 limes
4 garlic cloves, crushed
Salt and ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 large onions: 2 finely chopped, 1 sliced
8 ounce can of chopped tomatoes
4 bay leaves
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into small strips
1/2 pound peeled shrimp
1 cup thick coconut milk
2 tablespoons dende oil (palm oil), or coconut oil
1/2 bunch cilantro
1/2 bunch Italian parsley
2 plum tomatoes, peeled and quartered
1 cup chopped, roasted cashews (optional)
Hot pepper sauce or Malagueta pepper

Rinse the fish and pat it dry. Season with lime juice, half the garlic, salt and pepper. Let rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450º F.

Make the sauce
Heat the oil in saucepan, and fry the onions with the remainder of the garlic for about five minutes. Pour the chopped tomatoes into the saucepan, and add the bay leaves, bell pepper, salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, then add the shrimp.

While stirring continuously, add the coconut milk, dende (or coconut) oil, cilantro, and parsley. Cook for five more minutes.

Prepare the fish
Pour one-half ladle of sauce into base of an ovenproof dish. Drain the fish and place it in the dish. Pour remainder of the sauce over the fish, add tomatoes, and scatter the cashews on top.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Serve over steamed rice.

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