Bar Tartine’s Fisherman Stew is the perfect dish to consume on a cold, foggy San Francisco night — the warm, aromatic soup is soul soothing. Though a seemingly simple dish, the flavors are complex and varying: there’s the earthiness that comes from the hen-of-the-wood mushrooms, the spicy kick from the green chilis, and a richness from the generous pieces of sturgeon that are cooked to perfection. Soak up the soup with a piece of toasted Tartine Country Loaf — the sourness adds yet another layer of depth to the delicious dish.
[jump] Recreate the Hungarian fish stew at home with the recipe below, which was generously provided by Bar Tartine’s chef Nick Balla. It is from the Bar Tartine: Techniques and Recipes cookbook, which is due out November 25th (available for pre-order now on Amazon).
Hungarian Fish Stew
Serves 4 to 6
2 cups/55 grams packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
8 cups/2 liters fish stock
2 tsp filtered sunflower oil
2 small sweet white onions, thinly sliced
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 oz/115 grams hen-of-the-woods or oyster mushrooms, stemmed
One 8-oz/225-gram fennel bulb, halved, cored, and thinly sliced
1 tbsp kosher salt
3 tbsp Hatch or other green chile powder
1 lb/455 gram skinless sturgeon, carp, or catfish fillets, cut into 1⁄2-in/12-mm pieces
4 oz/115 g young collard greens, stemmed and torn into 1-in/2.5-cm pieces
1⁄4 cup/60 ml fish sauce
12 oil-packed anchovy fillets, minced
1 lemon, halved
Green onions, white and tender green parts, thinly sliced, for garnish
Fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish Freshly ground black pepper
In a blender or food processor, combine 11⁄2 cups/ 40 g of the parsley leaves and 2 cups/480 ml of the stock and purée until smooth. Set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the remaining stock to a simmer. Heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat until a drop of water flicked on the surface sizzles gently on contact. Add the sunflower oil to the sauté pan and then immediately add the onions, garlic, mushrooms, fennel, and 1 tsp of the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the chile powder and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer the cooked vegetables to the simmering stock along with the fish pieces, collard greens, fish sauce, anchovies, and remaining 2 tsp salt. Simmer until the fish is cooked and the collards are tender, about 5 minutes. Note that carp and catfish are more delicate than sturgeon. They will fall apart if cooked for more than 5 minutes or stirred too vigorously. Stir in the puréed parsley mixture and remove from the heat.
Ladle the stew into individual bowls. Tear the remaining parsley leaves directly into each serving. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to each bowl and garnish with green onions, parsley, and pepper. Leftover stew will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.