Boiled Fish with Onion Sauce and Fungi
SERVES 2 - 4
Malanga, a tarolike root popular in St. Thomas, is sold in Caribbean markets.
FOR THE FISH:
1 sprig fresh thyme
4 sprigs parsley
2 scotch bonnets or other fresh hot chiles, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
2 whole 1-lb. red snappers, cleaned
1 small malanga, peeled and thickly sliced (optional)
1/2 ripe plantain, peeled and thickly sliced (optional)
2 limes, halved
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1 small rib celery, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 tbsp. white vinegar
3 cups hot fungi (see recipe below)
1. Put thyme, 2 sprigs of the parsley, half the chiles, and 8 cups water into a large, deep skillet, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add fish, then malanga and plantains if using. (Water should just cover fish.) Squeeze 2 of the lime halves over fish, and season with salt. Cover, and return to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, spooning broth over fish several times, until cooked through, about 10 minutes.
2. Carefully transfer each fish to a plate, using a slotted spatula; then divide plantains (if using) between plates. Cover to keep warm. Continue cooking malanga (if using) until soft, about 10 minutes more.
3. Meanwhile, put oil, onions, peppers, celery, garlic, remaining chiles, and vinegar into a medium saucepan. Cover, and cook until vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes. Season onion sauce to taste with salt.
4. Uncover fish, divide fungi between plates, and spoon malanga (if using) and broth around fish. Spoon some onion sauce over fish. Garnish each with remaining parsley and lime halves.
FOR THE FUNGI:
Bring 1 cup salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh or frozen okra, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Transfer okra and cooking liquid to a small bowl, and set aside. Bring 12/3 cup white cornmeal, whisking constantly. Stir in reserved okra and liquid, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until cornmeal is soft, about 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat, add 2 tbsp. butter, and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon to mix well. Season to taste with salt. Mold fungi into small mounds with a large, wet serving spoon. Makes 3 cups.