Simple Seafood Stew

Simple Seafood Stew

Are you afraid to cook fish? If you are, you are not alone. For many years I thought I didn’t really like fish, but I grew up in a time when everything was cooked to death! If it wasn’t well done, it wasn’t eaten.

When I learned how to properly cook fish, a whole new world opened up for me. And the key to cooking fish was so simple. . . just don’t overcook it.

This recipe for simple seafood stew is easy, fast and really delicious. You can use almost any kind of whitefish. I had a few fillets in my freezer from Community Seafood, the CSF (community supported fishery) that delivers freshly caught seafood to my local farmer’s market. All the seafood is caught off the California coast by local fisherman, so I get to know who caught your dinner, and exactly where and how they caught it.

I did a step by step photo tutorial on how to make a fish stew over on Zester Daily. It comes together in about half an hour, making it a great weeknight dinner option.

Click here to find the recipe for my Simple Seafood Stew.

 

Lemon-Tarragon Tuna Melt with Provolone

Lemon-Tarragon Tuna Melt with Provolone | Black Girl Chef's Whites

 

Once upon a time a chef entered a contest for the best grilled cheese sandwich. It was only a grilled cheese after all, how hard could it be to come up with the winning recipe?

That is how I began my post about the Brie, Gorgonzola and Pork Loin Grilled Cheese recipe I developed for a contest. Well, here is the second recipe I entered into that contest . . . and the second one that did not make the cut.

So, it occurs to me that it may indeed be fairly hard to come up with a winning recipe for a grilled cheese sandwich.  Could someone pass me that humble pie please?

This tuna melt starts with extremely flavorful tuna with lemon zest and fresh tarragon, with gooey provolone cheese and creamy avocado.

And to really make it really special, I threw on some potato chips for crunch.

Lemon-Tarragon Tuna Melt with Provolone | Black Girl Chef's Whites

Damn good grilled cheese, if you ask me.

 

Shrimp in Spiced Butter-Beer Sauce

Shrimp in Spiced Butter-Beer Sauce | Black Girl Chef's Whites

 

When I graduated from college I went on a trip to Europe with my sisters. We had a home base in The Netherlands, where my sister Karen had been an exchange student. We would go to the little town of Staadskanaal, eat home cooked meals, wash our clothes and relax with her Mami, Poppi and the boys.

Then we would hop on a train to another country. We went to Italy, France, Ireland, Finland, Sweden and Denmark. And it was in Copenhagen, Denmark that we saw shrimp boats coming in with their catch, which they would boil in sea water and sell by the bag. These shrimp literally were plucked from the sea, plopped back into the sea (albeit boiling hot sea water) and then sold as soon as the ship docked. I had never had shrimp that fresh!

And now, the confession: I could not eat them without assistance. You see, the whole shrimp freaked me out a bit, because I hated those little legs, and lets not mention the heads. I made my sisters peel them for me, so I could eat them!

Obviously this was way before I attended culinary school, where I was taught to break down cows and lambs into primal cuts, filet whole fish (where I often found other fish and sea life in their stomachs) and cut up a whole chicken in less than a minute. Yes, this was way before.

Now, I am not squeamish about seeing or handling animals who have met their demise to feed myself and others.  Which is a really good thing, since I received some beautiful whole Ridgeback shrimp from my fish CSF Community Seafood.

 

Freshly Caught Ridgeback Shrimp | Black Girl Chef's Whites

 

I wrote about Community Seafood in my post for Wild California Halibut Ceviche, and I encourage you to learn more about local and sustainable fishing in your communities. One of the things I most enjoy about this community supported fishery is the amount of information I get about each weeks catch. I had never heard of Ridgeback shrimp before, but the  weekly email had a load of information about them.

To chefs around the world Santa Barbara is well-known as a premier source of the highly acclaimed ridgeback shrimp. The ridgeback fishery, while centered in the Santa Barbara Channel and the Santa Monica Bay, ranges from Monterey to Baja.

However, many local residents do not know that this variety even exists and is unique to our area since ridgebacks rarely show up in our supermarkets or even in Santa Barbara restaurants.

If you head down to the harbor on a Saturday morning during ridgeback season, you can buy them live from the fishermen. The ridgeback population is highest during our warmer El Nino years.

One reason these sweet delicately flavored shrimp are more difficult to find commercially is their short shelf life. They are best eaten the day of pickup. So for best results, keep them on ice prior to cooking.

Ridgebacks or “rigies” are actually a prawn, not a shrimp (…and Spot Prawns are a shrimp, not a prawn?).  Prawns generally have a longer legs and the second set of pincers is larger than the front ones, while the opposite is true for shrimp.

Not only do I get fresh fish and shellfish, I get educated too. That’s a good deal if you ask me.

 

Shrimp in Spiced Butter-Beer Sauce | Black Girl Chef's Whites

Wild California Halibut Ceviche

Wild California Halibut Ceviche | Black Girl's Chef Whites

 

I came to the fish lovers table fairly late. Growing up during the 1970’s, fish was usually an overcooked, under-seasoned,  grey looking piece of protein I pushed around my plate while pretending to eat. But those were also the days of the clean plate club, so I was often forced to eat a lot more than I wanted too!

It wasn’t until sushi took hold here in America that I realized how wonderful fish is.  For the first time I was tasting fish in its purest form, raw and unseasoned. I quickly took my seat at the fish lovers table.

I recently joined a CSF, or Community Supported Fishery.  A what, you say? Just like a CSA delivers produce straight from the farmer, each week I get a portion of seafood that has been freshly caught off the coast of Santa Barbara, California.  Every week before I pick up my seafood from my local farmer’s market, I get an email informing me of what type of seafood I will receive, who caught my fish and the methods used to catch it! Really, talk about knowing where your food comes from!

The fish is never frozen, never flown thousands of miles to get to market. And most importantly, the fish does not smell fishy. The sign  of very fresh fish is that it smells clean, briny like the sea, but never fishy.

If you live in a coastal community, check to see if there is a local CSF available for you to join. I highly recommend Community Seafood, which is my local CSF. If you live in the Los Angeles area, check them out. They deliver to 3 different farmer’s markets in the Los Angeles area.

Last week the fishermen caught local wild California Halibut. I had just harvested some lemongrass and serrano chiles from my little organic garden, so making Wild California Halibut Ceviche seemed like a no-brainer.

 

Wild California Halibut Ceviche | Black Girl's Chef Whites

Catfish Po-Boy Taco Wrap

Catfish Po'BoyTaco Wrap | Black Girl Chef's Whites

 

Sometimes it’s harder to come up with a name for a dish, than it is to come up with recipe.  When you combine a few traditions, add a little fusion and come up with magic, what’s a girl to do?

That may be a bit of hyperbole, but you should know I am not one to pass up an opportunity to wax poetic. Especially when it comes to food.  No other subject, with the exception of love makes a human emit utterances of lush prose and lust. Yes, lust. I know when I see a beautiful food photograph I am attracted to it, I want to touch it, to savor it. If that’s not lust, what is? Well, maybe its just hunger. . .

Now, back to the recipe. I love a good fish taco. I love a good catfish or shrimp po-boy sandwich. I love just about anything wrapped in a flour tortilla. What if I combined them all together? Hence the name  Catfish Po-Boy Taco Wrap!

Fish tacos have become very popular in the last few years, with the taste bud pleasing combination of a fried or grilled fillet of fish, topped with shredded cabbage tossed in a tangy dressing, all in a corn tortilla. And always a wedge of lime to squirt on right before you eat them.

A Po-Boy is a New Orlean’s creation, and come in a variety of styles, from hot sausage to fried seafood. They’re served on French bread and dressed with lettuce, tomato and pickles. My favorite is the catfish po-boy, followed closely by shrimp.

Why didn’t I just make a taco or a po-boy? Because I want it all! Now.

A made a fantastic coleslaw using Cajun seasoning, combining the New Orleans flavor and the Mexican fish taco tradition. I fried the catfish, using a store bought seasoned coating. And I had some tasty Super Soft Mission Flour Tortillas, which make a perfect wrap!

And I threw some bacon in there too, just because I love bacon.

Cajun coleslaw, bacon and tortillas

Catfish and Tortillas

Recipe: Catfish Po-Boy Taco Wrap

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds catfish filets, cut into strips
  • 1 package seasoned coating mix, such as Dixie Fry
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1/2 head green cabbage, cored, thinly sliced (about 6 cps)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon whole celery seed
  • 6 burrito size flour tortillas
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Instructions

  1. Fry the catfish according to the package directions.
  2. In a large bowl combine the carrots and cabbage.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, vinegar, Cajun seasoning, mustard, sugar smoked paprika and celery seed until blended.
  4. Pour the dressing over the vegetables, stirring to coat completely. (coleslaw can be made the day ahead)
  5. Place the tortillas on a clean, flat surface.
  6. Depending on the size, place 2-3 pieces of catfish on each tortilla.
  7. Spoon your desired amount of coleslaw next to the catfish, then sprinkle with some of the bacon pieces.
  8. Carefully roll the tortilla up, securing with a toothpick.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 6

catfish po'boy