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April Fool’s Day fish stew

April 5, 2011

Returning home from work on a Friday night inevitably sings for pizza delivery. Last Friday night I decided to make a basic cioppino style fish stew. I stopped at the market after dropping a friend off on the way home from work. I grabbed some shrimp as well as a couple of small fish steaks (Halibut, Cod or even a light Tuna will work). However; on this go around, I chose a fish I had never heard of before called Escolar (more on this fish later) . I grabbed 3/4 of a pound as well as 4 small Italian sweet sausages and headed for home.

The recipe for the stew is as follows:


– 1 large  soup pot

– 1 large saute pan

– 1/2  a yellow onion diced

– 3 celery stalks diced

– 1 yellow or red pepper diced

– 2 yukon potatoes cubed

– 1 carrot diced

– 1 can of fire roasted chopped tomatoes

– 1 1/2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock

– 2 tablespoons of dried basil

– 1 tablespoons of dried oregano

– 1 teaspoon of dried red pepper flakes

– salt and pepper to taste

– 1/2 to 3/4 pound of shrimp shelled and deveined

– 3/4 of a pound of fish steak (you want a steak because there are fewer bones which are easily removed)

– 2 tablespoons of wine ( I used red and white because I had the urge)

– 3 cloves of garlic minced


1. In the soup pot bring the tomatoes and broth to a boil.

2. Add the wine and boil for an additional minute to burn off the alcohol.

3. Reduce to a simmer and add garlic and spices.

4. In the frying pan heat oil over a medium heat and saute onions, carrots, celery and peppers until the onions are wilted (translucent).

5. When vegetables are ready add to the soup pot and continue to simmer.

6. Brown sausages in same pan vegetables were sauteed in until almost cooked through (about 5 minutes on medium).

7. Remove sausages and slice into 1/2 inch rounds when cool enough to touch.

8. Add to soup and simmer for another 1/2 hour to an hour (longer is better).

9. Return soup to a medium heat (almost rolling boil) add fish steaks and allow to cook for 5 to 8 minutes (keep an eye on them). Poke with a fork they should not fall apart but should yield a bit. Add shrimp and cook for 3 minutes.

10. Reduce heat and serve with nice bread or polenta.

Note: This keeps for about a day; perhaps two, so do not make a huge amount.

During the meal; which turned out well, my wife asked me about the fish. I admitted not knowing about escolar and proceeded to look it up on Wikipedia. The normal info was there such as location, genus, etc., but about halfway down the page I noticed some interesting subheads. The first was titled “Consumption” and the second was labeled “Effects of consumption”. I kept a straight face as we had just finished our meal. Everyone had polished their respective plates, and it looked like a great evening was in the making. The description for the effects was colorful, but the general gist is that I had just poached the equivalent of an  Olestra or Olean steak. I must admit the fish was delicious and buttery. Thankfully, I had served far below the troublesome portion size per person and even less to my son. It is now several days later and we are all fine.

My take away is that either the ingredients in the stew may have minimized the effects, or as a friend suggested we are some of the tribe who can eat this fish with no ill effect. The larger question is where is the FDA and labeling for products which are known for having these side effects?

I am thankful that is so easy for the public to get information quickly, but I would love for our government agencies to be held to a higher standard.

One last discovery “white tuna” is not “white tuna” it is; 9 out of 10, times escolar. So as you sit down to that lovely sashimi avoid the albino tuna.


scrittorio di scrittura

February 26, 2010


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