Earlier today I mentioned on the Facebook Fan Page that I had a severe craving for stew fish with a healthy serving of brown rice, but I didn’t have time to go to the fish market to source out my favorite fish, King Fish. However I did have a sea bass in the freezer that escaped going on the grill over the summer. I wasn’t sure how well the Sea Bass would stand up to this recipe and some of the people who commented on Facebook also shared my concern. So basically this recipe was a sort of experiment, but it turned out to be a lovely substitute for the King fish I much rather using. I’ve also seen my mom use, red fish, jack fish, salmon and carite (mackerel) when making this dish.
2 lbs fish (I used sea bass)
3/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash black pepper
medium onion sliced
medium tomato sliced
1/4 hot pepper (scotch bonnet or habanero) or 1/4 teaspoon hotsauce
1/2 teaspoon green seasoning
veg oil for frying the fish (about 1-2 cups)
flour for dusting the fish for frying (about 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon ketchup
3 cloves garlic crushed/sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
juice of 1 lime or lemon
Trim off the fins etc, cut into 1-2 inch pieces and squeeze the lime or lemon juice over it in a bowl and rinse with water (then drain). I kept the head, but to be honest I much prefer to use it for stock or making fish broth. I then season the fish and have it marinate for about 30 minutes or so. In the bowl with the washed fish pieces, add everything except the tomato paste, oil for frying, flour, olive oil and water.
To help the fish keep it’s shape while stewing and to follow on the traditional way I know of making this dish, we’ll quickly fry the fish pieces. Place the oil to heat in a pan on medium/high heat. Then shake off the seasoned fish pieces (keep the stuff that falls off in the bowl) and roll them in the flour to form a sort of coating. Then add to the hot oil and allow it to cook about 2-3 minutes on each side. Then set aside to drain off any excess oil on paper towels.
In a fairly wide and deep saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium heat, then add the tomato, onions, garlic.. etc that the fish was marinating in (scrape the bowl clean). Allow this to cook for a couple minutes (stir), then add the tomato paste (another option if you don’t have tomato paste, is Caribbean style browning – about1/4 teaspoon). Now add the 3/4 cup of water, then gently add in the fish pieces. Give them a gentle stir so the sauce gets to “marry” with the fish pieces and heighten the flavour of the overall dish. Allow this to simmer for about 5 minutes, so the sauce (gravy) can have time to thicken up a bit. Enjoy!
Yea, this one hit the spot today for sure and I quite surprised how well the Sea Bass held up. But, I was very careful when handing it. No fish meal in the Caribbean is complete without a few slices of cucumber on the side. Please leave me your comments below as I’d love to hear from you. Maybe you have a different version of this you’d like to share? And don’t forget to join us on Facebook to chat about all things food related and the culture of the Caribbean. Click on the image on the upper right side of this page to get started. we’d love to have you.