FISHERMAN’S STEW WITH GREEN CHILE & COLLARDS

“I wish I was a fisherman
Tumblin’ on the seas
Far away from dry land
And its bitter memories
Casting out my sweet line
With abandonment and love
No ceiling bearin’ down on me
Save the starry sky above
With light in my head
You in my arms.”
– Fisherman’s Blues, The Waterboys

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FISHERMAN’S STEW with GREEN CHILE & COLLARDS 

recipe for 4-6 servings from Bar Tartine: Techniques & Recipes:
2 cups packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
8 cups homemade fish stock (see below)
2 tsp sunflower oil (or substitute olive oil)
2 small sweet white onions, thinly sliced
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 oz hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, stemmed
1 fennel bulb, halved, cored, thinly sliced
1 tbsp kosher salt
3 tbsp Hatch or other green chile powder*
1 lb skinless sturgeon, carp, or catfish fillets cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 lb Manila clams (optional)
4 oz young collard greens, stemmed and torn
1/4 cup fish sauce
12 oil-packed anchovy fillets, minced
1 lemon, halved
green onions, thinly sliced for garnish
fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish
freshly ground black pepper

In a blender or food processor, combine 1 1/2 cups of the parsley leaves and 2 cups of the stock and puree until smooth. Set aside. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the remaining stock to a simmer. Heat a medium saute pan over medium heat until a drop of water flicked on the surface sizzle gentles on contact. Add the sunflower oil to the saute pan and then immediately add the onions, garlic, mushrooms, fennel, and 1 tsp of the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the chile powder and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer the cooked vegetables to the simmering stock along with the fish pieces, collard greens, fish sauce, anchovies, and remaining salt. Simmer until the fish is cooked and the collards are tender, about 5 minutes. (Note that the carp and catfish are more delicate than sturgeon. They will fall apart if cooked for more than 5 minutes or stirred too vigorously) Stir in the pureed parsley mixture and remove from the heat. Ladle the stew into individual bowls. Tear the remaining parsley leaves directly into each serving. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to each bowl and garnish with green onions and black pepper. Leftover stew will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

*Instead of buying or making green chile powder, I halved 4 Hatch chiles, drizzled them with olive oil, and placed them under a broiler until nicely charred, then threw them into the blender along with the parsley.

FISH STOCK 

for 8 cups (2 liters):
3 sheets dried kombu
3 quarts water
2 lbs carp, sturgeon, or catfish trimmings and bones, rinsed and scaled
2 large sweet white onions, quartered
1 fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
2 tbsp chopped garlic

Trim small slits into the kombu with a pair of scissors to help it release flavor. In a large pot, combine the kombu and water and let soak until it starts to soften, about 2 hours. Add the fish trimmings and bones, onions, fennel, and garlic to the pot with the kombu, cover, and bring to a simmer. Maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the bones fall apart, about 1 hour. Remove the kombu and discord. Remove the pot from the heat and pass its contents through a heavy-duty food mill. Not everything will pass through the mill; discard any bones that get stuck. Alternatively, smash the solids with a large spoon while in the pot and press against them to extract as much flavor as possible. Pass the stock through a fine mesh sieve to remove small particles. If not using immediately, let cool at room temperature until lukewarm, about 30 minutes, then cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

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