Boiled Fish with Onion Sauce and Fungi
This recipe calls for malanga, a tarolike root popular in St. Thomas, and sold in Caribbean markets.
Yield: serves 2-4
For the Hot Funghi
- 1 cup salted water
- 1⁄2 cup fresh or frozen okra,finely chopped
- 1 2⁄3 cups white cornmeal
- 2 tbsp. butter
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
- Make the hot fungi: bring salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add okra, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Transfer okra and cooking liquid to a small bowl, and set aside. Bring 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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.