The idea for this soup comes from the Brazilian vatapa, a hearty seafood stew flavored with peanuts and coconut milk.
– 1 large onion, finely chopped.
– 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped.
– 2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil.
– 5 pounds whole fish such as sea bass, black bass, black fish (tautog), red mullet, red snapper, and/or sea bream, cleaned, filleted, bones and heads reserved, and fillets cut into 12 or 16 pieces total (2 pieces per serving).
– 6 tomatoes, coarsely chopped.
– ½ cup creamy peanut butter made with only peanuts and salt.
– One 15-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk.
– 3 jalapeño chiles, seeded and finely chopped.
– 5 tablespoons fresh lime juice.
Step 1:In a pot, cook the onion and garlic in the oil over medium heat, stirring regularly, for about 10 minutes, or until the onion softens and is shiny but does not brown. Add the fish bones and heads, tomatoes, and about 2 quarts water and simmer gently for about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and work the mixture through a large-mesh strainer or a food mill fitted with the coarse disk into a clean pot. If you want a thinner consistency, strain it again through a fine-mesh strainer.
Step 2:Season the fish pieces with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, work about 1 cup of the broth into the peanut butter, a little at a time, until the mixture is smooth and well combined. Add the peanut mixture to the broth along with the fish pieces, coconut milk, chiles, and lime juice. Simmer for 2 to 4minutes, or until the fish is cooked. Season with salt and pepper.