A BOUNTY FROM THE SEA
It’s “Septober” in Chatham when the air changes, the wind blows a bit more from the north and our days of sharing our shore-side town with tourists and family is lost to a quieter Main Street and shortened days.
Yet, the harbors are still bustling with boats offloading their catches of day boat sea scallops, dogfish, stripers, monk, skates, squid, tuna, quahogs, sea clams and lobster. It is now though, we start to reflect back on ‘the season’ and its harvest, its beginning… when everything in nature explodes…in Spring.
We are blessed by the arrival of our Cape Cod spring, somewhat colder for the sou’west direction of the wind coming off Nantucket Sound. The sun rises higher in the sky and stays longer. Baitfish have moved nearer to shore, turning the water a turquoise green. The ospreys have nested and fish, the peeper’s sound, the herring are in the runs. Dandelions grace our lawns and squid shows up in Nantucket Sound. The daffodils bloom, the cherry blossoms waft in the breeze and the quahogs and clams rise closer to the surface of shoreline flats. The world awakens to the season. Shops open on Main Street and the town and the harbors explode with activity. Bait fish and warmer waters bring the fish closer to the shore and with boat bottoms freshly painted and in the water, the harvest begins.
We live in harmony of the seasons, harvest in harmony with what the sea provides. We regard the signs; the color of the ocean, the peepers, the daffodils, the ospreys, the fish, the fisherman and the cyclic nature of the seasons. The harmony of nature and our harvest, we are all one.
We now have our freezers filled with fish and shellfish harvested by us, given to us by fellow fishing friends the season is changing. We share with you a hardy fish stew in celebration of the bounty of this season.
BOUNTY OF THE SEASON
Fish Stew is versatile recipe using any and all fish like Dogfish, Monkfish, Pollack, Cod, Bass or Squid, anything from your summer catch, fresh or from the freezer or purchased from your local fishmonger. This recipe works well with shellfish too. Just substitute or add littlenecks or mussels in an amount to your liking.
3-4 pounds of locally caught filets of fish, chopped in bite size chunks
½ cup Olive Oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
¾ cup of white wine
16 oz. minced or crushed tomatoes
Fish stock as needed
¼ tsp each of thyme and basil
¼ tsp. Saffron or turmeric
2- 3 cups of chopped kale
Pepper to taste
Slight pinch of salt to taste
Sauté onions and garlic in oil until transparent in a pot. Add tomatoes, basil, thyme, saffron, then the fish. Add wine and enough fish stock to cover everything by 3 inches. Cover the pot and bring to a boil then add kale and simmer 20 minutes. Serve into individual bowls with crusty bread and a nice red wine.