Make Ahead

Salmon Moqueca

by:
May 13, 2010
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

Moqueca is a traditional Brazilian fish stew. It combines many of my favorite flavors, including tomato, peppers, coconut milk, and cilantro.Some recipes call for cod, striped bass, or snapper, but because these fish are considered “moderate mercury” fish by the National Resources Defense Council, they are best eaten only occasionally. So in this stew, I used wild Alaskan salmon (as it is low in mercury, is sustainably harvested, and let’s not forget about all those awesome omega-3s).
The sweet potato is not a typical moqueca ingredient, but yams are used in Brazilian cooking, so I felt they would fit in just fine. I like how they balance the dish, adding a bit of healthy starch and additional color to what’s already a pretty gorgeous stew. I adore coconut and found that the 3/4 cup of coconut milk in the recipe adds extremely subtle flavor; if you are looking for a more pronounced coconut taste, feel free to add more… - WinnieAb —WinnieAb

Test Kitchen Notes

If I knew how to pronounce it, I'd be telling everyone I know that they have to try this dish. Although it has a lot of ingredients, this stew comes together very quickly (though I imagine that time would be extended significantly without a food processor or an immersion blender...) and has a great balance of flavors and textures between the tender salmon, firm sweet potato, slightly crunchy peppers and the warming richness of the coconut milk and chili. A great dish all around (particularly with a nice hunk of crusty bread), though be careful with the lime juice; maybe I'm overly sensitive, as I almost always find recipes call for too much lime/lemon juice, but 1/4 cup was a tad too much for me. - solmstea

This recipe is featured in the story, 14 Cozy, Tomatoey Braises to Warm Your Stove Now Through March, sponsored by Muir Glen. —The Editors

  • Serves 4 to 6
Ingredients
  • Fish and Marinade
  • 1 1/2 pounds wild salmon fillets
  • 1 28-ounce can of peeled whole tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, cut in half
  • 1 Serrano chile pepper, stemmed and cut in half (use the seeds, too, if you want your stew to be pretty spicy)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • For the Stew
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup water (or fish stock)
  • 3/4 cup organic whole coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup minced green onion (bottom parts only)- for garnish
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped- for garnish
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Fish and Marinade
  2. Place fish in a shallow non-reactive (non-metal) bowl. Combine the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, garlic, chile pepper, lime juice, oil and salt in a food processor fitted with the metal blade (or a blender). Process until smooth and pour over fish. Allow to marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  1. For the Stew
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add diced sweet potato and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, adding a little water if needed so it doesn’t burn, until softened. Add zucchini, green and red pepper and continue to cook until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes, again adding water to the pan, if needed. Add water or fish stock and stir in coconut milk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add fish and marinade and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Just before serving, stir in green onion and cilantro. Serve alone or over rice.
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I grew up in a restaurant family (my parents owned the now closed Quilted Giraffe in NYC) and I've always loved to cook. My interest in the connection between food and health led me to pursue a graduate degree in naturopathic medicine. I don't practice medicine anymore; I have a blog called Healthy Green Kitchen that I started in May of 2009 and I wrote a book called One Simple Change that will be published in January, 2014. I live in upstate New York with my family and many pets.