Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fish Stew

When I started this recipe I was looking to make an Asian inspired fish stew.  It didn't quite turn out that way due to lack of ingredients, but I wound up with a pretty good soup/stew anyway.  I've been craving fish big time lately, and Asian food, to me, seems to do seafood the best, particularly Vietnamese cuisine.  So, I went looking for recipes and found some inspirations, but nothing seemed quite like what I wanted so, I decided to go freestyle, with fresh garden veggies.  Here are some Carrots I just pulled out of the garden.
There are also some baby Garlic in that shot.  Even though it has been really hot here lately, there are some things that have persisted in the garden.  Most are root vegetables and herbs, but then my Chiles are doing really well right now.  So, back to the stew.  I need to make a stew base, and was looking to do this in a way that was low fat because I don't want a thick, heavy stew.  Its supposed to be light, like fish.  I started with a quart of Vitalized Water, and added a Chicken stock base, Caldo de Pollo, to make a quick Chicken stock.  Then added my chopped veggies, Carrot, Potato, Celery, and Onion, and let them simmer down for 20 minutes or so.  Hey, this is casual cooking, no hard measurements or rigid cooking times.
In the meantime I needed to thaw out the piece of Codfish I selected for the stew because they come frozen.  I let the individually packaged piece of fish sit and thaw in some cold tap water in the sink.  Here were going to add some Asian taste to the otherwise Southwestern cuisine, Fish Sauce.  Fish Sauce is a scary unknown to most occidental western people.  It is a major staple in all Asian cuisine, which is substituted with Soy Sauce by westerners.  I am probably going to do a blog post exclusively on Fish Sauce in the future because of its rich history, and unique nutritional properties, like microbiotics, and enzymes.  But, here we use it for taste.  I'll add about a tablespoon of Fish Sauce to the stew.  Then we'll chop the fish into bite size portions.
The stew will have thickened as the vegetables cook down and break up, forming a broth that is infused with Chicken, Vegetables, Fish sauce, and now the Codfish itself.  Right before adding the fish, I'll add some chopped Cabbage, for a little extra Asian flair, give it a few minutes, and then I add the fish pieces to the stew, and gently work them in.  Reduce the heat to a low simmer, and give the fish 5 minutes to poach in the stew.  I thinly slice some Lemon slices and add a few to the stew in the last minute, and griddle some Ciabatta bread on the Comal.  Serve the stew with some extra Lemon slices on top, the Ciabatta bread, and some Asian Chile/Garlic sauce on the side.
Nomlishious Texan/Asian Fusion...

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