Moqueca de Peixe

This is a fabulous Brazilian fish recipe that I got out of a Saveur magazine and simplified (I think their recipe called for dende oil, which needless to say, I did not have easy access to).

6 tbsp chopped cilantro leaves
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
4 to 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
salt, to taste
several skin-on or skinless filets (grouper, tilapia, snapper)
3 medium yellow onions (2 chopped, 1 thinly sliced)
1 13.5 oz can of coconut milk
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 ripe plum tomatoes (2 finely chopped, 2 sliced)

1. put 2 tbsp of the cilantro, lime juice, garlic, and salt in a wide, shallow dish and stir to combine. transfer the fish to the dish and turn to coat all over with garlic mixture. let marinate at room temperature for 20-30 minutes

2. puree half of the chopped onions and the coconut milk in a blender and set aside. Heat olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add remaining chopped tomatoes and 2 tbsp of cilantro and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are soft (about 5 min). Add reserved coconut milk puree and salt, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

3. nestle fish in the sauce (skin side up if skin), and pour marinade over the top. Add remaining cilantro. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and cook, covered, spooning sauce over filets from time to time, until fish is just cooked through (depends on size of your filets, but say 15 to 20 min). During last 5 minutes of cooking, scatter the sliced onions and sliced tomatoes over the top. Serve with rice.

Giff’s notes: I have made this with Tilapia and loved the results. I like to use a red onion for the sliced rings that you sprinkle on the top of the dish for the last 5 min of cooking.

Grandma’s Oyster Stew

This is a traditional Christmas dinner appetizer for our family, and it is really more of a soup than a stew. As with most recipes, all the amounts below can be changed to fit the taste you are looking for.

2-4 tb butter
1-2 cups diced onion or leek
1/2 – 1 cup chopped celery
3 pints oysters and their liquid
2 cups milk or half-and-half
1 cup cream
1/2 cup white wine or vermouth
1/8 tsp white pepper
worcestershire sauce
thinly sliced mushrooms (optional, but we love the addition)

» Saute onion/leek, celery and mushrooms (if used) in butter in large soup pan.
» Add liquid and oysters and cook on low heat until the oysters float. Flavor with salt (to taste), pepper, and a few drops of worcestshire sauce. Add chopped parsely just before serving.