Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fast Catalan Fish Stew with Roasted Pepper Aioli

Do you know where Catalonia is? Well. I think I was mistaking it with Calendonia.... hahaha, which is Scotland, and awfully far from away from Catalonia!  Ha, wasn't I happy to find out that it was of my most favorite"ist" places to visit ever... Barcelona! It's the whole region from Barcelona to France, including the country of Andorra and the Pyrennes, if Wickipedia is to be believed....

Catalan, food from Catalonia, is highly flavored, but not necessarily spicy, and this stew epitomizes that.  There are many different variations of this dish, some include a variety of seafood and some include pork products like Serrano Ham or Chorizo.  I kept it pretty simple with mine. This dish takes about 30 minutes max, including the aioli topping.

I did do an experiment with the fish though, I will admit to being a huge Tilapia fish fan, though many recipes call for Halibut.  I bought both today, frozen at Costco, and used half and half.  My husband, my son and I compared and discussed the differences in taste and texture and finally admitted that the Tilapia, at a fraction of the price of Halibut, was great ingredient and could be substituted without much loss of quality in the dish.  (We're kind of food geeks...) It's funny, because Halibut is a cold water fish, what's it doing off of the coast of Spain anyways, huh?

Don't skip on the Red Pepper Paprika Aioli, it TOTALLY makes the dish!!!  Even if you decide not to make your own aioli, at least blend some mayonaise with paprika and red pepper.  Though heck, if you are going to dirty the blender, why not MAKE the aioli?  You can use the leftover aioli on sandwiches, egg dishes, burgers, steaks and more... hmmmmmm.

P.S. I was looking forward to eating the leftovers for lunch the next day, but the morning after we had this, I came down to the kitchen to see that my 17 yr old son had eaten it for a midnight snack....  kind of funny, but not what you'd think a teen who never liked fish would choose, huh?

Forgot to picture the white wine!  Also, the bowl in the center is the Red Pepper Aioli (recipe below)

Serves 4-6
4 fillets of white fish- Halibut, Tilapia, Cod,
1 large onion, sliced
1 - 12 oz. jar of roasted peppers (retain a large half for the aioli below)
1 - 28 oz plum tomatoes, crushed (mine were whole, until I blended them!)
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup green olives with pimentos, with a couple of Tablespoons of juice
1/2 cup white wine
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt, and more to taste
Fresh Ground Pepper

In a large, low saute pan with a lid, add olive oil and saute the onions and the garlic for 5-7 minutes until they are soft and starting to brown.  Add the peppers and cook 1-2 more minutes.

Add the white wine and the crushed tomatoes and reduce by about 1/3 so that the mixture is starting to thicken.  Add about 1 tsp of salt and some fresh pepper, plus the olives and their juice, plus the white fish. 

Cover and cook for about 4 minutes over medium heat.  Uncover and turn the fish over with some tongs, cooking another 3-4 minutes.  Be careful not to stir, the fish will break up easily.

Roasted Red Pepper & Paprika Aioli

1 egg yolk
2 or 3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 of a large roasted red pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2  tsp salt (and to taste)
1/2  tsp smoked Spanish paprika
3/4 cup oil (mixture of olive and vegetable oil is best)

In a blender, combine the egg yolk, garlic, red pepper, lemon juice, salt and paprika. Cover and blend until smooth.

Take off the blender cover, and with it still running slowly add the oil in a steady stream and blend until everything is smooth and combined, scraping down the sides of the blender with a spatula as needed. Taste and adjust for seasoning.

Here is what the finished dish looked like right before I ate it....

Oh yeah, and what it looked like after I used my bread to sop up every last drop...

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