Saturday, November 6, 2010

Fisherman's Stew

With late autumn around us and winter getting closer, the season for soup, chili and stew is upon us. Few things can warm you better on a cold evening after work, or as an accompaniment to football on a Saturday afternoon near the year's end. Simple ingredients yield some remarkable flavors in this fish stew recipe that originates from Sicily.

These proportions yield enough for either two people or one person with leftovers. As always, adjust as needed if you're cooking for more.



INGREDIENTS
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup chopped red onion
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 cup chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
- 2 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped with juices
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/2 to 2 pounds mixed fresh fish such as shrimp, cod, sea or freshwater bass, or halibut, cut into large pieces. If using a fillet containing skin, use kitchen shears or a VERY sharp knife to remove the fish's skin.
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper

A fresh focaccia or sourdough bread makes a fine accompaniment to this stew. In addition, notice the indication to chop the garlic rather than mince it. This really just comes down to having slightly larger and less uniform pieces. It's a slight difference, but substantial if you think you may enjoy encountering a larger piece of garlic while eating your stew.

Pour a nice glass of red wine, put on some music and get to work.

In a medium pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onions and saute for 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant and translucent. Add parsley and tomatoes. Raise heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Next, add 1 cup water and the wine.

Cook, partially covered, for 10 minutes. Then, add fish and stir to mix. Completely cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes. If you own a bad-ass range that tends toward hot eyes no matter what level you set, monitor stew occasionally.

When done salt and pepper to taste, then ladle stew into a bowl and serve with bread. Refill glass with red wine and enjoy.

Tonight's music: Gaucho by Steely Dan, Birth of a Band by Quincy Jones

Technology tip: This evening's tech review is accompanied by an unfortunate in memoriam for http://drop.io, which has been bought by Facebook and will cease to exist by the year's end. Reviewed on this blog in 2009, drop.io was a fantastic way to publicly or privately share files with others. The service, which contained free and paid options, even generated a phone number and email address for each drop, enabling users to leave voice messages as MP3 files and email files directly to the drop. In addition to traditional downloads, drop.io enabled users to share a drop's content in nearly a dozen different fashions including RSS, podcast, Facebook, and Twitter.

R.I.P., and may the Facebook resurrect drop.io in a meaningful way. In the meantime, services such as dropbox.com and Google groups will fill the void of enabling everyday users to share files too large or unwieldy to send as email attachments.