This Bacalao Fish Stew, popular in Puerto Rico, is easy, and brimming with complex flavors. White fish is a delicious source of Omega-3 fatty acids and B-vitamins. Capers and oregano suggest a Mediterranean twist... while the cilantro hints at Mexico or Latin America. The stew is a beautiful blend of cultures and tastes, emblematic of the flavors of the island itself.
Heat oil in a large high-sided skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the onion, sprinkle with salt and cook for a minute, stirring until the onion starts to soften. Turn the heat down to medium low and sweat, stirring occasionally, until softened for, about 5 to 8 minutes.
Turn the flame up to medium-high and add garlic and poblano pepper. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes. Cook stirring for 3 minutes. Add the olives, capers and oregano. Mix well. Lay the cilantro sprigs on top, cover and turn the flame down to low. Simmer for 20 minutes. If the mixture seems dry, add up to ½ cup of water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Taste stew for salt. At this point, you can set the stew aside until you are ready to add the fish.
Add the fish chunks and mix them into the stew. Cook until the fish is opaque and just flakes with a fork; it should take no more than 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the soup sit for 5 to 10 minutes. This will blend the flavors and finish cooking the fish. Remove the cilantro sprigs. Serve with the chopped cilantro, avocado and lime wedges on the side. To add heartiness, serve the stew with something to sop up the sauce such as crusty wholegrain bread, or our Baked Whole Wheat Tortillas.
You can use your favorite firm white fish for this stew; just remember to buy fillets and not steaks. Your fishmonger will skin and cube your fish for you – just ask.