Seasoned with chorizo, dried oregano and cilantro, this deconstructed fish stew tastes like the specialty of some upscale restaurant in Mexico city. But it came to Cakebread Cellars from one of Denver's foremost chefs, Kevin Taylor, a 1997 workshop participant. For a dinner party, you can make the tomato broth a couple of hours ahead, stopping after you add the cooked chorizo and potatoes. Then all you need to do at dinner time is steam the fish in this flavorful base. You could add some clams or shrimp to the pot as well.
Recipe from "The Cakebread Cellars American Harvest Cookbook" by Jack and Dolores Cakebread and Brian Streeter with Janet Fletcher.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Two 5- or 6-ounce whole chorizo sausages
1 pound fingerling potatoes
For the tomato broth:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
3 larges cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 cups peeled, seeded and diced fresh tomatoes, or 2 cups canned whole peeled tomatoes in purée, broken up by hand
1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
1/2 cup sauvignon blanc
Four 4- to 5-ounce skinless halibut or cod fillets
Freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a small ovenproof skillet over moderate heat. Add the chorizo and brown on all sides, about 3 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until the sausages feel firm, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly, then cut into 1-inch-thick slices.
Put the potatoes in a saucepan with salted water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to boil, adjust the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced, about 15 minutes. Drain and let cool. Peel, then cut into 1-inch chunks.
For the tomato broth: Heat the olive oil in a large pot over high heat. add the bell peppers and sauté, stirring, for about 3 minutes to soften them, then add the garlic and chili flakes. Lower the heat and cook for about 1 minute to release the garlic fragrance, then add the tomatoes and the oregano, rubbing the herb between your fingers.
Simmer briskly until the tomatoes soften, about 2 minutes, then add the stock and wine. Simmer for about 5 minutes to thicken the liquid slightly, then add the chorizo and potatoes. Simmer for 5 minutes to develop the flavor. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper. Arrange the fillets on top of the stew, then cover and simmer gently until the fish is fully cooked, about 10 minutes. Divide the chorizo, potatoes and broth among 4 soup bowls, then top each portion with a fish fillet. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve immediately.