• by Cathy Smith

The Sailaway Gourmet

Wow, it’s October already. Pumpkin picking time! And there are still lots of bluefish, bass and cod to be caught here in the Northeast. I never really thought of eating any kind of fish with pumpkin on the side or as a sauce of some kind, but after doing some research on the web, apparently, it’s the ‘in’ food combination right now. I tested a few recipes and can see why people are liking it! Pumpkin is good for us in that it provides lots of vitamins A & C and potassium. The A is good for your eyesight and the C of course is good for fighting the viruses and infections that start hitting us in the fall. As fish is full of protein, we have a complete nutritious meal when combining the two. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of protein and unsaturated fats, including omega-3. They also contain a range of nutrients including iron, selenium, calcium, A & B vitamins, so make sure if you get fresh pumpkins, not to throw the seeds out, instead toast them and eat as a snack. So now that we know that fish and pumpkin can be good together, let’s prepare it and see how good it can taste! Here are some recipes I found on the web and played with. Pumpkin and Fish Stew (adapted from Rachel’s Kitchen NZ) 2 cups of pumpkin, peeled and cubed into bite size pieces 1 small onion, roughly chopped 1 clove garlic, minced 2 tsp. of olive oil 1 (15 oz.) can of diced tomatoes with their juices 1 cup of water 1 chicken bouillon cube 1/2 tsp. of dried Italian herbs, crushed 2 handfuls of baby spinach leaves 2 (4-6 oz) cod or bluefish fillets, skinned and cut into bite size pieces ** 8 large shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed salt and pepper to taste Place the pumpkin into a microwave safe dish with a 1/2 cup of water. Cover partially and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Remove, drain and set aside. In a soup pot over med high heat, cook the onions and garlic in the olive oil until softened and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices, the water and the bouillon cube along with the Italian herbs. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about half an hour, until slightly thickened. Stir in the spinach leaves. When spinach is wilted add the fish and shrimp, cover and cook until shrimp are pink and fish is easily flaked with a fork. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4-6 **Rachel’s recipe calls for cod, but I used bluefish Baked Fish with Pumpkin Curry Sauce (adapted from Tastefully Eclectic) 4-6 fish fillets (recipe called for tilapia or scallops, but bass or cod can be used also) 2 tbsp. of butter, margarine, or coconut oil 1 tbsp. of onion powder 2 tbsp. of curry powder 1 tsp. of garlic powder 1 can (14 oz) of diced tomatoes 1 can (15 oz) of pumpkin puree 1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth 1 tsp. of cayenne pepper salt and pepper, to taste Start sauce first. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and curry powder. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. (Cooking your spices releases the oils and makes them more flavorful.) Add the tomatoes, pumpkin, and broth. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep the pan covered when not cooking, so it doesn’t splash out everywhere. Next add the cayenne, salt, and pepper to the sauce. Pour into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. While the sauce is cooking, follow the directions for baking the type of fish you are using. Lightly season with salt, pepper, and sage and bake until fish flakes easily with a fork. Once the fish has finished baking, remove from oven and serve topped with sauce. Serves 4-6 Fish and Pumpkin Tagine (adapted from Taste.com) 1 tbsp. of ground ginger 2 tsp. of ground turmeric 1 cinnamon stick 1 lb. can of crushed tomatoes 1 1/2 cups (375ml) of chicken stock 1 lb. pumpkin, peeled, cut into wedges 4 large fish fillets, halved 2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted Chopped parsley for garnish Heat oil in a large, deep frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes or until soft. Add garlic, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add tomato, stock and pumpkin and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or until pumpkin is just tender. Season with salt and pepper. Place fish over the pumpkin mixture and cook, covered, for 10 minutes or until fish is just cooked through. Add the peas and cook, covered, for 2 minutes or until peas are tender. Meanwhile, place couscous in a large heatproof bowl and cover with 2 cups of boiling water. Cover and set aside for 5 minutes to absorb. Separate the grains with a fork. Divide couscous among serving plates. Top with tagine and sprinkle with parsley and almonds to serve. Serves 4

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