First published in November 2006, this updated pantry ingredient post features new photos, links, and tweaks to the recipe. I learned the original recipe for this Brazilian fish stew from Botucatu Restaurant in Boston, which closed a couple of years ago.
Another scandalous confession: I always have crushed garlic in a jar in my fridge.
I can hear the screams. "What is she doing with that stuff in her pantry???"
Well, right up front, let me say that garlic in a jar is never ever better than fresh minced garlic. Never. Ever.
So why do I always have a jar on hand?
The upside: Living out in the country, and needing to think and plan ahead for grocery shopping as the nearest store is a many-miles-away drive, I'm often caught without fresh garlic, or with garlic that's starting to green. Better than no garlic at all, garlic in a jar pinch-hits for fresh in many dishes, especially those which are long-cooked. And there's no denying the convenience.
The downside: Many brands are processed with nasty preservatives that give an off-taste to the garlic. I like Trader Joe's ($1.79 for 9 ounces, the equivalent, according to the jar label, of 51 teaspoons or 100-150 garlic cloves), because it's just garlic and citric acid -- no salt, no oil, no preservatives. However, unless used almost immediately after opening, any garlic in a jar can turn rancid after a couple of weeds in the refrigerator.
Of course, all it takes are a few batches of our house special jambalaya or chicken on skewers to use up that much garlic. So go ahead, open a jar, cook up a storm. And do what I do -- hide the jar of garlic in the back of the fridge.
Moqueca a baiana (Brazilian fish stew)
A Brazilian fish stew that cooks in 10 minutes. Add a tiny bit of hot red pepper flakes or hot sauce for a spicier version. This recipe is adapted from one given to me by Botucatu Restaurant in Boston, many years ago. Serves 2; can be doubled.
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 green pepper, sliced
1/2 medium red onion, sliced
4 tsp scallions, thinly sliced
2 tomatoes, cut into eighths
1/2 cup canned coconut milk
12 oz white fish (haddock, swordfish, cod, etc.)
In a frying pan, heat the oil. Add garlic, salt, pepper, green pepper, onion, scallions and tomatoes, and sauté for 1 minute over high heat. Add coconut milk, and continue to cook for 1 minute. Add fish and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and continue to cook for not more than 10 minutes, until the fish is just cooked but not overdone. Serve with rice.
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Sudado de pescado al coco (fish stew with coconut), from My Colombian Recipes
Coconut-lime turkey (or chicken) and rice soup, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Tom yum seafood soup with coconut milk, from Noob Cook
Salmon fish stew, Brazilian style, from Simply Recipes
Indian fish coconut curry, from Steamy Kitchen
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