I’m always looking for new ways to include seafood in my diet. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I ate saltwater fare so frequently that I really took it for granted without realizing it at the time. Now that I’m landlocked, I miss my fish dearly. Thankfully, I’ve found a few local places that receive regular shipments of fresh seafood. So even though I don’t get to eat fish within hours of catching anymore, and I don’t get to eat it as often, I can still enjoy quality seafood when I desire.
Most of us know we’d be wise to get a little more of this great source of protein into our diets. Fish sustains us with healthy fats, vitamins B, D, and A, and minerals such as selenium, zinc, iodine, and iron. Most of us are content to throw a piece of fish on the grill or in the oven, flavor it with some butter and lemon, and call it a day. But there’s a great way to include a variety of the freshest specimens available in one mouthwatering dish—seafood stew.
This traditional Brazilian dish is a simple, delicious way to get more seafood on your table. Silky coconut milk is perfectly balanced against a little bite of heat from red pepper flakes and a burst of tang from lime juice. The end result is a dish exploding with flavor, one that’s just as suitable for a warm summer’s eve as it is a cold winter’s night. And if you’re feeling adventurous, it’s easy to mix things up and create entirely new dishes.
For this stew, I like to use fish steaks on the bone and poach them in the liquid whole. This preserves the flesh so it doesn’t disintegrate while adding loads of flavor and nutrition to the broth.
Brazilian Seafood Stew (Moqueca de Peixe)
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
¼ cup olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 large green pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
6 Roma tomatoes, chopped
¾ cup full-fat coconut milk
1½ lbs. halibut steaks, or other lean white fish
1 lb. peeled, tail-on shrimp
½ lb. bay scallops
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 large handful cilantro, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
Salt and pepper
- Heat olive oil in a large pot. Sauté onions until translucent. Add bell pepper and garlic and sauté until crisp-tender. Season with salt and pepper. Add red pepper flakes and sauté for 30 seconds. Add coconut milk and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add whole halibut steaks to broth. Poach at a bare simmer, gently flipping occasionally so they cook evenly. Poach until fish just starts to flake apart, about 10 minutes. Gently transfer fish to a plate and set aside.
- Add shrimp to broth and cook for 1 minute, then add scallops. Simmer gently until shrimp and scallops are cooked through, about 2 minutes.
- Break halibut into large chunks, discarding bones and skin. Gently stir back into broth. Stir in lime juice, cilantro, and green onions. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve immediately.
To choose your organically grown and fresh ingredients wisely, use the following criteria:
- chemical- and hormone-free meat
- wild-caught fish
- pasture-raised, organic eggs
- whole, unrefined grains
- virgin, unrefined, first-press organic oils
- whole-food, unrefined sweeteners
- pure, clean, spring water
- sea salt
- raw and/or cultured milk and cream products