Joel and I love the combination of flavors that come together in this great tasting Puerto Rican Cod Fish Stew! I’ve made it 3 times in the last few weeks just to make sure it was really as good as we thought it was. The ingredients just didn’t seem as though they could come together for such a great taste…but 3 times now, they have. For this blog, 3 times successful and you’re in!
Here is a short history on Puerto Rican cuisine. The Taino Indians were the native inhabitants of the island when Christopher Columbus initially explored this area. It is reported that the Tainos invented the barbacoa, and Yucca, peppers and corn are native to this area. The Spaniards introduced garlic, olives, cilantro and Bacalao which is Salted Dried Cod. The variety of cuisines of the Iberian peninsula had an important influence on the development of Puerto Rican cuisine. Spanish trade introduced cocoa from Mexico. Then came the African slaves who brought plantains, coconuts and the preparation of frying foods. All of this, along with influence from early Dutch, French, Italian and Chinese immigrants has shaped the traditions of La Cocina Criolla, the cuisine of Puerto Rica.
If all of the Puerto Rican dishes are as good as this one, I’m sold on their cuisine. I’ll be trying out more of their recipes, which I will be happy to pass along to spice up your recipe file.
I may be in love with this dish, as it reminds me of the vacation we just returned from. We spent 1 week in the Caribbean on a 80 foot yacht with our good friends, Cleve Reed, who is the captain of “The Adventure” and his fiancee, Diane Griffiths. What an experience that was! I think I was the “chief cook and bottle washer” Joel was a “high priced” deck hand! I’m in the process of writing a post for that amazing trip. If you know the Small Family, you will understand that it was just another “Small Adventure”!
This seemingly odd combination of olives, tomatoes, capers and oregano along with…
Peppers (Anaheim or Poblano are preferred, but I have used yellow and red bell peppers with success.), onion, garlic and cilantro work great together with the fresh wild caught cod.
These are the ingredients from my second try of the recipe with the Poblano peppers instead of the bell peppers, Oregano, Fire Roasted Tomatoes, capers, olives and Vegetable Broth instead of water. I do think I prefer the recipe prepared in this way.
I like to add 1-1/2 to 2 pounds of fresh, wild caught cod as I prefer more rather than less fish. This Bacalao Stew is a dish that will be a regular in my kitchen and you might want to consider making it one in yours.
To prepare this wonderful stew, heat a large, high sided saute pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, swirl in enough olive oil to cover the bottom. Add the onions and garlic and saute until softened. Be sure to stir occasionally to prevent sticking or over browning.
Stir in the small chunks of fish, the pepper, cilantro, olives, capers and oregano.
Stir in the tomatoes along with their juice. Reduce the heat to medium and cover. Stirring occasionally, simmer for about 10 minutes. If the stew is getting too thick, add up to about 1/2 cup of water or organic vegetable broth. I prefer the vegetable broth as I think it has a richer flavor.
Check for seasonings and, if necessary, season with sea or Kosher salt and pepper. Cover and simmer about 10 more minutes.
OK…so I just noticed my favorite copper All Clad Saute Pan needs a good polishing. I guess I should be embarrassed, but I think it just shows how much I use that pan! Maybe I’ll get around to polishing it…mmm…next month 🙂 Actually, next time you see this pan, it will be all shiny!
And…here are the mouth-watering results of these most unusual ingredients! This stew is actually even richer and more tasty if served the day after preparing it, making it a great dish for entertaining. When ready to serve this awesome stew, just heat it up, add a salad and maybe a dessert, and your in business!
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup coarsely chopped onions
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
- 1-1/2 to 2 pounds fresh, wild caught cod, or any other fresh white, flaky fish fillets, cut into ½" to 1" pieces
- 1 cup diced fresh Poblano or Anaheim peppers, seeded (I have used yellow and red bell peppers with success)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons sliced, small pimento stuffed olives
- 1 tablespoon small capers, rinsed and squeezed dry
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed (to release more flavor)
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can Fire-Roasted Diced tomatoes, undrained
- to taste sea or Kosher salt
- to taste fresh ground white pepper
- as needed up to ½ cup water or vegetable broth
- For Garnish - 1 large avocado, diced
- For Garnish - chopped fresh cilantro
- Heat a large, high sided skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
- When the pan is hot, swirl the olive oil to cover the bottom.
- Stir in the onions and garlic. Turn the heat down to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in the fish, peppers, cilantro, olives, capers and oregano.
- Cover, lower the heat to medium, and simmer about 10 minutes.
- Stir in the tomatoes, along with their juice. Cover.
- Check occasionally and stir to make sure the stew is not getting too thick or sticking. If it is, stir in a small amount of water or vegetable broth.
- After 10 minutes, check the seasonings and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover again and simmer for about 10 more minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Remove from the heat and serve hot.
- Serve the diced avocado and chopped cilantro in small bowls along side the stew.
I hope you’ll try this rich and tasty cod fish stew. If you are serving company, it would be an easy recipe to double. We love it! If you try it, please let me know what you think. I love receiving your comments!