Mexican Fish Soup
Chayote, a subtly flavored, pale green fruit, is available in Hispanic or Caribbean markets and specialty produce stores.
2 medium waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into sticks
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
2 small chayotes, peeled, pitted, and cut into chunks
1/4 lb. green beans, trimmed
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
2 jalapeño chiles, seeded and minced
1 medium white onion, peeled and chopped
1 large tomato, diced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 2-lb. sea bass or other firm-fleshed ocean fish,
cut into 1''-thick steaks, head and tail reserved
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 bay leaves
3 limes, halved
1. Place potatoes in a pot of cold salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until tender but firm, about 10 minutes. Remove potatoes with a slotted spoon and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in the same pot, bring 4 cups salted water to a boil. Add carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon, rinse under cold water, drain, and set aside. Add chayotes to boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon, rinse under cold water, drain, and set aside. Add green beans to boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon, rinse under cold water, drain, and set aside.
3. Place oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add jalapeños and onions and cook until just softened, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, increase heat to medium, and cook until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, remove from heat, and set aside.
4. Place 6 cups water in a large pot. Add fish head and tail, cilantro, and bay leaves and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
5. Remove and discard fish head and tail and bay leaves. Add vegetables, tomato mixture, and fish to pot and simmer over medium heat until fish turns opaque, about 7 minutes. Serve with lime halves.