Looking for another easy but delicious way to cook Fish, then this Caribbean Fish Stew is for you. Growing up there were two types of stews that my mom made. Brown stew—where burnt sugar (a dark brown sugar caramel) was used to give the stew a rich brown color. And red stew or tomato paste stew—where tomatoes and tomato paste came together to give the stew a rich red color. I love any version of stew. Red stew with chicken is really yummy. And by the way we never called it red stew, we simply called it stew.
Prepping the fish
For this recipe I am using fresh salmon, but you can easily use frozen salmon or any other type of fish. I love using pantry staples to season my fish. Here I am using granulated garlic, salt, onion powder, black pepper and some ground ginger. You can also season your fish with my seafood dry rub that I use In this Oven Broiled Salmon recipe.
Traditionally when making fish stew, I would flour and fry my fish first then add it to my stew. While on Whole30 I broil my fish (unfloured), skin side up for 5 to 8 minutes before adding it to the stew. Nothing is lost in flavor or texture with this method versus doing it the traditional way.
Making the stew
This Fish Stew is rich in flavor with fresh herbs and vegetables. I love sautéing up some onion, garlic and tomatoes first, then adding parsley. This is pretty much how I start most stews. Don’t have fresh tomatoes don’t sweat it. You can also used canned tomatoes or just tomato paste.
The key to this dish is to get the stew right before adding the fish. I love adding a little bit of mustard and lots of tomato paste to brighten up the stew. To help balance out some of the acidity of the tomatoes and tomato paste, I added some coconut aminos to the stew. Typically my mom would add a little bit of sugar but it is not needed.
When the tomatoes and herbs cook down to a beautiful thick paste I know I am on my way to an exciting flavor experience.
When my mom makes fish stew she adds a few fresh callaloo (spinach) leaves or some times some steamed ochro/a. I add whatever veggies I have on hand or need to get rid of (veggies that are close to spoiling). For this recipe, I added some yellow squash and julienne carrots!
Then I added some water for form a sauce and topped the stew off with some fresh thyme. Dried thyme works just as well here, if you don’t have fresh thyme. Confession, I only recently started choosing fresh herbs over dried herbs. Historically I love easy and simple cooking, so I like to just use pantry staples for most of my dishes. As I’ve grown in my cooking, I’ve expanded to include fresh herbs and vegetables in my recipes but honestly don’t discount dried herbs and spices!
Adding the Fish to the stew
When the stew is ready, I added in the broiled salmon (skin side up) to prevent the skin from getting too soggy. I spoon some of the gravy from the stew over the fish, cover it and let it simmer on medium-low for about 10 minutes. Then I serve my stew with a nice side of root vegetables. When I made this dish for dinner I served it with a side of “boil and fry” cassava. Boil and fry is a term Guyanese people give to any dish that requires boiling ground provisions/root vegetables until tender, then sautéing them up before serving.
Why is this recipe Whole30?
Although this is exactly how I make fish stew now, it is not how I used to make it. Before Whole30 and before realizing I had a gluten sensitivity, when I made fish stew, I floured then, deep fried the fish before adding it to the stew. It is how most Guyanese people make fish stew and some chicken stews. Since I can no longer add gluten (wheat flour, in this case) to my dishes, I tried other non gluten flours and they just didn’t work. Plus the thought of deep frying salmon and then adding it to a stew, although tasty, didn’t align with my health and fitness goals. So I started broiling the salmon first, then adding it to the stew. This method gives the salmon a crispy texture before it gets added to the stew which prevents it from being mushy.
The Printable Caribbean Fish Stew Recipe Card
- 6 Salmon filets (about 1lb total weight)
- 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic, grated
- 3 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 yellow squash, sliced or diced
- 1 large carrot, julienned
- 2 springs of thyme (sub for a tablespoon of dried thyme leaves)
- 1 teaspoon of spicy brown mustard
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of tomato taste
- 1 tablespoon of coconut aminos
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 cups of water
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon of onion powder
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon of ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon of black pepper
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- Squeeze lemon juice over the salmon filets and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then rinse with water and pat dry with paper towel
- Mix together onion powder, garlic powder, ground ginger, black pepper and salt
- Then rub the dry herbs mixture over the salmon filets and set aside
- Preheat oven to Broil or 500 °F
- Then warm oil in a large skillet on medium heat.
- When the oil is hot, add onions, tomatoes and grated garlic to the skillet and sauté for about 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent and the tomatoes are soft
- Add salt, tomato paste, mustard and coconut aminos and continue to cook down to a thick paste-like texture
- Next add yellow squash, julienned carrots and thyme
- Continue to sauté for an additional 3 to 5 minutes then add 2 cups of water
- Mix together well and bring to a boil (okay to increase the heat to high)
- Then let the sauce cook down until a thick sauce forms
- While sauce is cooking, place seasoned salmon, skin side up, on a sheet pan sprayed with cooking spray
- Then place into the hot oven and broil for 5 to 8 minutes
- When sauce cooks down to a thick sauce add broiled salmon, skin side up into the sauce and spoon some of the sauce over the salmon
- Next cover the fish stew and reduce the heat to low
- Finally let the stew simmer for 10 minutes on low heat, then remove from the heat and serve warm
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Check out my easy Steamed fish recipe using frozen tilapia!
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