Oh my goodness, it's cold outside. On a recent trip to Brazil I fell in love with this amazing fish soup all over again. Local superstar chefs there are using Amazonia ingredients such as the Baru nut in place of the cashew but lets not quibble, this dish is insanely simple, easy, fast, and delicious. Put on some trippy beachy Brazilian music and get in the mood for this winter warm up.
Brazilian Moqueca: Fish, Shrimp, and Mussel Soup
This is a traditional moqueca that has the cashew butter added. To some this makes it a vatapa, but to some that is splitting hairs. You can make this as varied as there are fish in the sea and many restaurants in Brazil make theirs with cuttlefish, many species of crab/crays/langoustes etc. I go to Coastal Seafood and grab all my seafood there.
1# whole shrimp (16 count work great)
1# Mussels, big fat plump Mediterranean black mussels work best
1# Halibut, grouper, snapper or cod filets or steaks
2T lime juice, plus more for seasoning
2T vegetable oil
3 Thai bird chiles or 1 habanero chile
6 cloves garlic minced
2 onions, sliced thin
2T tomato paste
1 cup coconut milk
2T cashew nut butter
4T minced cilantro leaves
2 cups shrimp or shellfish stock
Marinate the fish for one hour in half the lime juice.
Pat dry and lightly brown over high heat in the oil in a large pot.
Add the vegetables, herbs, and spices.
Sauté briefly and when glassy add the tomato paste.
Stir, and add the shellfish stock and bring to a boil.
Remove the fish and let rest on a plate, continue to boil the stock.
After stock has reduced by 1/3, add the coconut milk and simmer until soup has thickened, about five minutes.
Add the shrimp and cover, cooking for a minute or two to cook shrimp through.
Add the fish and mussels back to the pot, cook until mussels have opened.
Season with salt and lime juice.
Using a slotte spoon, remove all the seafood and place in a large tureen for serving, swirl in the cashew butter and pour the soup back over the seafood, and serve.