Moqueca is a traditional Brazilian fish stew. It combines many of my favorite flavors, including tomato, peppers, coconut milk, and cilantro.Some recipes call for cod, striped bass, or snapper, but because these fish are considered “moderate mercury” fish by the National Resources Defense Council, they are best eaten only occasionally. So in this stew, I used wild Alaskan salmon (as it is low in mercury, is sustainably harvested, and let’s not forget about all those awesome omega-3s).
The sweet potato is not a typical moqueca ingredient, but yams are used in Brazilian cooking, so I felt they would fit in just fine. I like how they balance the dish, adding a bit of healthy starch and additional color to what’s already a pretty gorgeous stew. I adore coconut and found that the 3/4 cup of coconut milk in the recipe adds extremely subtle flavor; if you are looking for a more pronounced coconut taste, feel free to add more… – WinnieAb —WinnieAb
TEST KITCHEN NOTES
If I knew how to pronounce it, I’d be telling everyone I know that they have to try this dish. Although it has a lot of ingredients, this stew comes together very quickly (though I imagine that time would be extended significantly without a food processor or an immersion blender…) and has a great balance of flavors and textures between the tender salmon, firm sweet potato, slightly crunchy peppers and the warming richness of the coconut milk and chili. A great dish all around (particularly with a nice hunk of crusty bread), though be careful with the lime juice; maybe I’m overly sensitive, as I almost always find recipes call for too much lime/lemon juice, but 1/4 cup was a tad too much for me. – solmstea
This recipe is featured in the story, 14 Cozy, Tomatoey Braises to Warm Your Stove Now Through March, sponsored by Muir Glen. —The Editors
Fish and Marinade
1 1/2 pounds wild salmon fillets
1 28-ounce can of peeled whole tomatoes, undrained
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup cilantro, chopped
2 garlic cloves, cut in half
1 Serrano chile pepper, stemmed and cut in half (use the seeds, too, if you want your stew to be pretty spicy)
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
For the Stew
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 zucchini, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup water (or fish stock)
3/4 cup organic whole coconut milk
1/2 cup minced green onion (bottom parts only)- for garnish
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped- for garnish
Fish and Marinade
Place fish in a shallow non-reactive (non-metal) bowl. Combine the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, garlic, chile pepper, lime juice, oil and salt in a food processor fitted with the metal blade (or a blender). Process until smooth and pour over fish. Allow to marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
For the Stew
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add diced sweet potato and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, adding a little water if needed so it doesn’t burn, until softened. Add zucchini, green and red pepper and continue to cook until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes, again adding water to the pan, if needed. Add water or fish stock and stir in coconut milk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 2 to 3 minutes.
Add fish and marinade and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Just before serving, stir in green onion and cilantro. Serve alone or over rice.