Norman Van Aken, © 2001
Serves 8 to 10
2 ounces diced slab bacon, rind removed if any is on it
¼ cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
1 Scotch bonnet, seeds and stems removed, minced
1 medium sweet onion, peeled and diced medium
4 celery stalks, cleaned and diced medium
1 large carrot, peeled and diced medium
1 small bulb fennel, diced medium
1 yellow pepper, seeds and stem removed, diced medium
2 quarts shellfish stock, clam juice or chicken broth
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
1 quart peeled plum tomatoes, thoroughly crushed
2 cups tomato sauce
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons each of fresh thyme and basil, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 ¼ pounds fresh fish, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 ¼ pounds red potatoes, scrubbed, cut into bite sized pieces, cooked and drained
Tabasco to taste if desired
In a very large soup pot or Dutch oven, over medium low heat cook the bacon with ¼ cup of the olive oil. When the bacon is almost cooked, add the Scotch bonnet and garlic. Cook 30 seconds. Turn up the heat to medium high and add the onion, celery, carrot, fennel, and yellow pepper. Stir to coat and caramelize (8-12 minutes). Add the stock, bring to a boil and simmer until reduced by one third.
Add the crushed red pepper, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and herbs. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat. Season the fish with salt and pepper and add it to the skillet. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the fish pieces and the cooked and drained potatoes to the stew after it has simmered for 15 minutes. Simmer for a few minutes to bring the flavors together.
Add Tabasco or other hot sauce, (if desired) to taste then serve.