Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bite of Brasil

My favorite things to bring home from travels abroad are recipes.  Long after you've lost an earring from the pair you picked up in that flea market or worn a hole through that t-shirt advertising the local beer, you can still whip up a bowl of Tom Kha soup or sprinkle some za'atar on a pita, and be taken right back into that memory of an amazing adventure.  One of the best trips I've taken was during the first year the husband and I were dating, with my family, to Florianopolis, Brasil.  So many things made this trip a dream: my future husband doing some priceless bonding with my family, the incredible graciousness of the family friends who hosted us and fed us like kings night after night, the beachside location, and that special sparkle in the people that is just inherently Brasil... it's magic.
The husband in particular paid close attention to every meal we were served and has mastered some of our favorite Brasilian recipes completely.  One of the best dishes that he makes from this trip is a special seafood stew called Muqueca.  In the photo above, our Brasilian hosts took us on a day trip to Lagoa da Conceição.  We took a boat across the water and went to a restaurant whose specialty was this delicious dish.  We were totally enchanted by the sweet, savory, coconut-y deliciousness of Muqueca, and knew we had to recreate it at home. Through a combination of flavor memories and internet research, we've come up with a version that brings us right back to this day.
1/2 cup olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 can light coconut milk
2 lbs. firm white fish (halibut, cod, swordfish or tilapia all work well)
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon 
1 tsp. each paprika and red pepper flakes
Pinch of salt and pepper
1) Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2) Heat olive oil in a deep skilletAdd the onions and peppers and saute for 10 minutes, until soft.
3) Add the chopped tomatoes, coconut milk, lemon juice and spices and mix well.
4) Place the fish, skin side up, on top of the sauce and sprinkle with paprika. Cover the skillet, place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
5) Remove the skillet from the oven and the skin from the fish.  Break the fish into pieces for serving.  Serve over rice.
Recipe serves 4, with leftovers 
 Any recipe that brings back a day out on the ocean with my dad is a keeper in my book.


  1. Jane! Holy've been holding out! I want to make it this weekend...thank you! xoxoxo ::virtual hugs:: miss you & <3 you lady.

  2. So good to see you guys a few weeks ago! I am making this tonight, it looks awesome!