Stew fish is a very common food item throughout the Caribbean islands. There will be slight variations from island to island, but this accompanied with cou-cou/funchi is seen on many a Friday night supper table. Since people generally take off on the weekends including fishermen, most people buy fish during the week when it is fresh. Otherwise, they are taking out their fishing poles and catching their own fish.

In the Caribbean, fish is bought fresh from the fisherman and cooked the same day. People do not go to supermarkets and buy days old fish like they do here in the United States. This was one of the strangest things my Mom thought when she first came to the US. Buying meat and fish from a supermarket took my mom many years to get accustomed to. Even as a child when she had already been here for 20+ years, we would go to a live market in New Jersey to get fresh meat. My mother did not trust meat that could have been frozen for months or even years, for all she knew.

On a Saturday, we would all load up in the car. My dad was a very patient person. He never minded being my Mom’s chauffeur or if he did, he never said a word. My mother drove, but if someone else was driving, she didn’t have to bother looking for parking. On Saturdays, he would just sit in the car and drive her from place to place, completing all of her errands. While she went into the market picking out the chickens to be butchered and plucked, my sister and I stayed in the car with my dad. My parents may be Caribbean, but I still have American sensibilities.

This is a version of my Mom’s stew fish that I grew up eating, although there is no way she would use the Costco bought fish fillets I use. To this day if I am shopping with her at Costco and she sees me picking up packages of fish, I start getting these strange looks and grimaces in my direction. Every once in a while, she looks inside the shopping cart and just shakes her head in dismay. I have learned to just ignore these looks and pretend I don’t see them.

Caribbean Stewed Fish

Serves 2-4

  • 2 8 oz. Mahi Mahi fillets (or any firm white flesh fish. King Fish is most common in the Caribbean)
  • 1/4 cup Green Seasoning (an all purpose Caribbean seasoning sold at Caribbean markets or supermarkets with good International sections)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 thinly sliced onion
  • 1 sliced red bell pepper
  • 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 Scotch Bonnet pepper
  • a pinch of sugar
  • salt, to taste (about 3/4 teaspoon)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Pour Green Seasoning over the fish and brush the seasoning well over all sides of the fish. Marinate for at least 1/2 hour and up to overnight.
In a skillet, heat oil. Add onions and peppers and saute for about 5 minutes, until they start to caramelize.
Add fish, tomatoes, Scotch Bonnet, sugar and salt. Spoon sauce over the fish. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add parsley and stir to combine.

Serve with cou-cou/funchi.

This post is for the CC Challenge of the month 

Chef Mireille