Something Smells Fishy...
Another Jamaican favorite is brown stew fish, a close cousin to steamed fish and my father’s favorite way to have a fresh snapper. With stew fish you get the best of both worlds, it basically combines fried fish and steamed fish into one lovely pot.
Don’t get Jamaican steamed fish and Brown stew fish confused. While they certainly look alike they are different, in textures and flavors, even though they basically use the same ingredients. If you remember my steamed fish recipe it used only one pot. Brown stew fish is no different as you will brown the fish and stew it done in one pot (as the name suggests).
Some recipes call for the use of ketchup, or browning or other condiments to create the sauce. All that is completely unnecessary, all you need for a rich thick gravy full of color is a whole lot of tomatoes. I generally use a very ripe and red salad tomato as the base for the stew. Coupled with the onions, thyme, scotch bonnet pepper and allspice, you will have a lovely flavor developed by the time the dish is ready.
Ingredients (Printable Recipe)
4 whole fish cleaned and scaled
¼ to ½ teaspoon Salt per fish
¼ to ½ teaspoon Black pepper per fish
¼ cup oil to fry the fish
For the stew
3 tablespoon oil
1 large onion
1 large ripe salad tomato
2 sprigs thyme
½ scotch bonnet pepper
1 teaspoon allspice berries
1 herbox bouillon cube
2 ½ cup water
- Season the fish with black pepper and salt, on the skin and insides
- Heat the oil to very hot and fry/brown the fish on both sides until golden brown
- Remove from the oil and set aside
- Pour out excess oil so there is roughly three tablespoons of oil in the pot
- Sauté the onions tomato thyme and hot peppers
- Add the allspice berries and bouillon cube and water allow it to dissolve
- Bring the mixture to a boil before adding the fish
- Add the fish, cover and allow the sauce to reduce while periodically spooning the liquid on top of the fish.
- When the sauce has reduced and slightly thickened fish is ready
- Make sure to keep an eye on the sauce as the fish imparts its flavors into the sauce it can dry out really fast. I cant tell you how many times we are watching family feud while cooking and the next thing we know, there is no gravy left because it all dried out and got re-absorbed back into the fish.