I’m smiling as I write this, because this recipe was first shared with me while cruising in the Abacos, Bahamas. Fifteen years ago, our family was living aboard our first sailboat, the original Snowcat. We met another boat with kids from Rhode Island and “buddy boated” with them for several weeks…such fun! I relive these good times with every batch of this savory stew that they introduced to us. I’ve been refining the recipe with each fish that we catch, or seafood that I've purchased... now it's ready to share.
Got Fish? Get Old Bay
The not-so-well-kept secret that makes this stew so awesome is Old Bay Seasoning. This seasoning mix is a combination of herbs and spices that enhances the mild flavor of fish. We ate a lot of Old Bay seasoned shrimp and crab during our time in the Chesapeake Bay last year. I even considered making my own version Old Bay, but the 14 spices in the ingredient list helped convince me that Old Bay is worth buying. My yellow can of Old Bay takes up valuable real estate in my small pantry, but I use it all of the time when preparing fish on the boat or back home in Steamboat.
Do you have Old Bay Seasoning in your spice drawer? I’d love to hear how you use it, so leave a comment below and share your ideas.
Spicy and satisfying, this tomato-based fish soup is adapted from a recipe that we received from cruising friends aboard s/v Eos. It’s an easy way to enjoy a warm bowl of stew whether you’re on a cold passage or just finished a chilly day on the slopes.
- 2 sliced bacon chopped
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 green pepper chopped
- 2 carrots peeled and sliced
- 1 28- ounce can chopped tomatoes
- 1 6- ounce can tomato paste
- 1 quart fish stock chicken stock can be substituted
- 1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 cups diced red potatoes
- 1 pound firm white fish haddock, grouper or mahi-mahi work well
In a large soup pot, cook bacon over medium heat to release the fat. Add onion, pepper, and carrots, and continue to sauté until vegetables become soft.
Add all remaining ingredients except fish and simmer for 30 minutes. At this point the soup-base can be refrigerated for up to two days before making it into fish chowder.
Prepare fish by cleaning, deboning and cutting skin-less fish fillets into ½-inch chunks.
Thirty minutes before serving, heat the prepared soup-base to a simmer. Add fish and continue to simmer for 15 minutes until fish is cooked through (about 135º F). Serve.
For a quick dinner, make the spicy broth one to two days before and refrigerate. When it's time to make the stew, heat the broth and add the fish following the recipe.