There are a few dishes that really make me happy and stewed fish is one of them. My mom made this dish so often when I was little. Not only does the flavorful aroma of this dish bring back nostalgic childhood memories, but there is something about simple stewed fish in a rich tomato and garlic sauce that is simply comforting.
For the Fish:
2 pounds boneless white fish fillets such as perch, snapper, cod, halibut, white hake or mahi mahi
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 tsp sweet paprika
Olive or sunflower oil for frying the fish
For the sauce:
4 Tbsp butter
1 large yellow/sweet onion, finely diced
1 red or green bell pepper, chopped
2 medium carrots, grated
4 large garlic cloves, crushed
4 cups tomatoes, diced (substitute 2 14Oz cans of diced tomatoes)
1 Tbsp red pepper paste or tomato paste
2 cups water
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 Tbsp sweet paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
Salt and black pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley and dill
Lemon wedges, for serving.
To fry fish: Pat dry each piece of fish with paper towel. In a bowl combine flour, 1 tsp salt, black pepper and Cajun seasoning then stir to combine. In a large frying pan over medium heat, add about 1/4 cup of oil. While oil heats, dredge fish in the flour mixture on both sides making sure to shake off the excess. Place into hot oil and fry until golden brown and crispy. Set aside.
To make the sauce: Melt butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and sautée until soft, about 5 minutes. Next add crushed garlic, cook until the garlic becomes fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chopped bell pepper and carrots, cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add diced tomatoes and red pepper paste and cook for 2-3 minutes. Next add water and season with oregano, paprika, Cajun seasoning, salt and black pepper. Lower to a simmer and allow to cook for 10 minutes.
When you see that all the veggies are soft and soaked in tomato sauce, it’s time to add fish. Transfer the fish gently to the veggies and coat them with tomato sauce. If it looks like you don’t have enough tomato sauce, you may just add a bit of water. Simmer the fish with veggies in tomato sauce for 5 minutes so the fish would just soak up some of the sauce. Sprinkle with some fresh chopped parsley and dill and it’s ready to be served!
Serve over hot rice, mashed potato or with fresh bread.