living in the central part of tokyo and being married to a dutchman have made the circle of my friends quite international. despite my nationality, from time to time i feel more comfortable being in a diversified crowd than being surrounded by a homogeneous group of people.
there are always great benefits being exposed to different cultures. of course sharing a variety of our culinary cultures is one of them. a while ago, a group of friends got together to teach/learn a typical dish of a country of each one of us. the first lesson was japanese, and at the second lesson i learned this dish, caldeirada de peixe (portuguese fish stew), from our lovely portuguese friend M.
this is the only portuguese dish i can cook. the soup is made with sliced onion, sliced paprika, sliced potatoes, a can of tomatoes (i used a pack of fresh cherry tomatoes this time instead), and a few filets of fish (this time i used snapper, but can be salmon, cod fish, or any other fish of a similar sort), and several pieces of olives (if my memory is correct, i think she put some olives at the end). when M taught us this dish, she used salmon and added some prawns. i think prawns can be replaced with some other seafood, such us scallops or crams or squid.
the trick of this dish is the amount of olive oil (a lot) and the time to cook the sliced onion (long). i remember we finished a glass of white wine or maybe 2 glasses of it, while we were waiting for the onion to be ready. you just have to simmer it slowly and slowly, until the onions are very tender and transparent. after 2 glasses, you can pour the paprika, again cook it for a while, and then add tomatoes and simmer again for 5 minutes or so. add potato slices, simmer for another 5 – 10 minutes, and finally add the fish, olives and other seafood as you prefer. cook for another 5 – 10 minutes, and add salt & pepper to taste.
by the time the dish was ready, we were quite tipsy, chatty and very happy. one day i would love to visit portugal and try this dish in its home country. when that happens, i know i will be very proud of myself.
caldeirada de peixe (portuguese fish stew), its recipe through the courtesy of M.P. (obrigada!)