I could not sleep well last night. I woke up from a dream about one of the last times I had lunch with a friend, Chris Carvel, who is no longer here. We had Moqueca Mista. The memories of this meal still linger.
I remember that is was a cool afternoon and he agreed to sit outside, something he never did. We had traveled together to Brazil and tried this dish in Salvador and were anxious to taste this version in Miami.
Moqueca is a Brazilian seafood stew based on fish, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and cilantro. There are many variations and this one was made with mixed seafood and was bright orange with dendê oil, which is another name for palm oil. It arrived at the table, served in a massive clay dish and was hot, so hot that we had to wait at least fifteen minutes before eating anything. The wait was worth it, the marriage of all the flavors and textures were so vibrant that it reminded us of Carnival in the streets of Brazil. This dish, we had a long time ago at Sushi Samba in Miami Beach. Out of curiosity I checked their website and Moqueca Mista is still on the menu. Not sure if it looks the same now. Their recipe is also found online and I am sharing it here.
Another visit to Sushi Samba is due soon. Wish Chris could be there with me.
- 3 mussels
- 3 clams
- 3 shrimp
- ¼ cup squid
- ¼ cup fresh cod or sea bass
- 1 whole crayfish
- 1 crayfish tail
- 2 tablespoons white onion diced
- ¼ cup chopped garlic
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- ¼ cup okra sliced
- 2 tablespoons diced red tomato
- ½ cup coconut milk
- ¼ cup fish or shellfish stock
- 2 tablespoons dende oil (or canola oil infused with annatto seeds)
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 cup cooked rice
- 2 small handfuls of toasted cashews, chopped
- A handful of toasted coconut flakes for garnish
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Spread the cashews in a single layer on a baking sheet or roasting dish and roast them until they are just golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside.
In a medium sized sauté pan heat the oil until smoking point and add the mussels, clams, shrimp, onions, cod or sea bass, crayfish tail, whole crayfish, tomato, okra and garlic. Cook over high heat for 1 minute or until mussels and clams start to open up, then reduce the heat and cover with a lid until all the mussels and clams have opened.
De-glaze the pan with the stock and add the coconut milk and cilantro. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the squid and lime juice and check for seasoning. Adjust with salt and pepper as needed.
Pour into your favorite casserole dish, garnish with toasted cashews and coconut flakes.
Serve over rice.
600 Lincoln Road
Miami Beach, FL 33139