Wulf's Kitchen: Caldo De Peixe — Cape Verdean Braised Bluefish
Alex’s grandmother has been making this dish for decades. Originating from the Cape Verde Islands, off the coast of Senegal in West Africa, braised bluefish is a “kitchen pantry” dish. This recipe lends itself to a variety of fish and vegetables — whatever is on hand and easy.
Bluefish is Alex’s fish of choice as it holds up beautifully in this broth of vegetables and stock, but cod, seabass, and an array of dense fish would do the trick as well. This one-pot method is perfect for weeknights and special occasions alike.
Cape Verde was colonized by the Portuguese until 1975, imprinting the nation’s cuisine with a mix of Portuguese and African influence.
As seen in this recipe, fish and seafood are an essential part of Cape Verdean cooking, while seasonings such as bay leaves and vinegar show the Portuguese influence.
RECIPE BY ALEX MARTINEU, WULF'S FISH TEAM MEMBER.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lb bluefish
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes (fresh or can)
- 1 chopped bell pepper
- ½ cup chopped onions
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup vegetable stock (or any stock handy)
- 1 cup Jasmine rice
- 2 cups water
Take your bluefish out of the fridge as you prepare the vegetables and rice. Cook rice as directed. Hint* Allow your fish to come fully to room temperature before searing. Pat dry the bluefish fillet, making sure the skin is very dry with a paper towel. Salt and Pepper both sides of the bluefish.
Using a frying pan, add the vegetable oil and bring it to medium high heat. Once the fish is at room temperature and the pan is pre heated, add the fish skin side down and press firmly. DO NOT TOUCH UNTIL FISH BECOMES LOOSE IN THE PAN. This is very important. Don’t rush it.
Once fish is released from pan, remove it from pan and set aside.
Add tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions and sauté till translucent. Add Garlic. Deglaze with Red wine Vinegar and reduce volume by ½. Add vegetable stock and lower high to medium.
Put the bluefish back in the pan with the broth, vegetables, and bay leaves, cook until internal temperature hits 165. This should take about 15-20 minutes.
Serving Note: Can be served as a brothy stew, or over rice.
Spoon fish and vegetables over rice (or into a bowl on its own), top with chives and enjoy.