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Food For Thought: 3 Views Of A Brazilian Seafood Stew

The first recipe I tried from "Churrasco: Grilling the Brazilian Way" by chef Evandro Caregnato had nothing to do with grilling.  It was Moqueca De Peixe com Coco  (moh-KE-kah de pay-SHEE com Ko-ko); a seafood stew with coconut milk, peppers and onions.   How good was it?

At the conclusion of our dinner, I was unable to restrain DeGroot from licking the pan.  Naturally, I immediately called Nancy Leson to rave about the recipe.  She made it with her own adjustments and re-raved.  Then I showed it to 88-5’s Afternoon Jazz host, Robin Lloyd, and she had to try it, too.

Each of us adjusted the recipe in our own ways, which we describe in the conversation on this week’s Food for Thought.

The original recipe serves six.

Coconut Fish Stew from "Churrasco: Grilling the Brazilian Way" by EvandroCaregnato 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter or 2 tablespoons palm oil 1/3 cup olive oil 6 6-8 oz. fillets, white fish, about 1 inch thick ½ lb. whole unpeeled shrimp Salt & freshly ground white pepper ¼ cup all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon minced garlic 1 lg yellow onion, cut in ¼ inch slices, divided 3 bell peppers, red, yellow and green) cut into ¼ inch strips (I cut mine in rings as in the pic) 2 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped Juice of 2 lemons 1 bunch cilantro, chopped, divided 1 14 oz. can unsweetened coconut milk Directions: Preheat the oven to 425° F. In an ovenproof skillet heat the butter and half of the olive oil over medium heat. Season the fish and shrimp with salt and white pepper, and then dredge both sides of the fish with flour. When the butter and oil mixture is hot, fry the fish fillets 2 or 3 at a time for about 3 minutes per side, just enough to cook the exterior and give it some color., transfer the fish to a plate and set aside. In the same skillet, sauté the garlic, shrimp and half of the onions for about 2 minutes. Add half the peppers and sauté for about 1 minute. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir. Turn off the heat and return the cooked fish (along with its juices) to the skillet., Pour the lemon juice over the fish and shrimp, then sprinkle with half of the chopped cilantro, Stir the coconut milk with a fork and pour over the seafood. Place the remaining raw peppers and onions on top of the seafood, season with salt and white pepper, and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Transfer the skillet to the hot oven and cook for about 15 minutes or until the fish and vegetables are cooked through and the coconut milk start to bubble. Before serving sprinkle with the remaining cilantro. Serve with rice or a crusty baguette.

Credit Denny Culbert
No one expects the...oh wait.

We all agreed that next time with this recipe we'd give the seafood less cooking.  I don't think I'll cook mine at all prior to putting it into the oven.  Fifteen minutes at 425° should be plenty.

I can’t wait to try some actual grilling recipes from the book, even though Brazilian grilling gear looks like leftover infrastructure from the Inquisition. Maybe I can get ex-welder DeGroot to whomp up one of these.

“My first memory in life is grilling my thumb to the griddle in our restaurant on Cape Cod.” – Rachael Ray

Dick Stein joined KNKX in January 1992. He retired in 2020 after three decades on air. During his storied radio career, he hosted the morning jazz show, co-hosted and produced "Food for Thought" with Nancy Leson and wrote and directed the Jimmy Jazzoid live radio musical comedies and 100 episodes of Jazz Kitchen.