Erin Anais Heist prepares her tomato-based Portuguese fisherman’s stew with a variety of seafood, spicy sausage, potatoes and smoked paprika in her home kitchen on Friday, Dec. 14, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Erin Anais Heist prepares her tomato-based Portuguese fisherman’s stew with a variety of seafood, spicy sausage, potatoes and smoked paprika in her home kitchen on Friday, Dec. 14, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Eating Wild: Portuguese Fisherman’s Stew, Southeast Alaska style

The perfect food for a cold wintery night.

  • By ERIN ANAIS HEIST FOR THE JUNEAU EMPIRE
  • Wednesday, December 19, 2018 3:24pm
  • Eating Wildfood

When I was first asked if I’d be interested in doing a food column for the Juneau Empire, I was a little nervous. It’s one thing to have a blog read by friends and family, it’s another thing to publish recipes in print in your local paper — the same paper that I used to deliver up and down Long Run Drive when I worked as a papergirl in elementary school.

So many folks over the last several months have stopped me — on the street, at concerts and the grocery store — to tell me that they’ve tried one of my recipes, or have enjoyed reading “Eating Wild” and have gotten new ideas from it. Unexpectedly, I started to feel like I was participating in a giant Juneau-wide potluck. This is a town of amazing cooks and all of us have access to some of the most beautiful wild food in the world, I can’t tell you how lucky I feel to get to be a part of this kitchen kinship. Thank you!

Now that we’re into the depth of winter, Eating Wild will be going on seasonal hiatus until green things start growing again, aka April. I’ll be spending the upcoming months daydreaming about foraging excursions and planning fishing trips. Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or suggestions for directions you’d like this column to take, I can’t wait to continue to explore our local foods with you.

This week’s recipe is Portuguese fisherman’s stew: a warming tomato-based stew with a grab-bag of seafood, spicy sausage, potatoes and smoked paprika. It’s the perfect food for a cold wintery night. Inexpensive and gorgeous, I love the drama of clams and mussels, but you can easily substitute any other kind of seafood you’d like: shrimp, scallops, rockfish, etc. Have fun with it (and maybe clean out your fridge). For an extra Southeast Alaska take, I used spicy Filipino longanisa, which you can find in the freezer section of any of our local grocery stores. It’s a rustic and fatty little plump sausage that adds a delicious sheen to this stew, but you can easily leave it out or substitute whatever kind of spicy sausage you’d like.

Some additional ingredient notes: This is a stew where smoked paprika shines. You can pick up smoked paprika in bulk at the affordable local spice store, The Red Onion; they have a location in the Mendenhall Valley and one downtown. I am a little obsessed with smoked paprika and use it probably too much, but other than bacon, it’s one of the easiest ways to get a quick hit of smokiness into a dish. You’ll also notice that I used anchovy paste and sugar in the stew. Anchovy, and fish sauce for that matter, is one of those hidden secret ingredients that makes every dish more delicious, and when combined with cooked onions it practically dissolves into the dish before your eyes. Sugar can do the same work that salt does in that it subtly punches up flavors and can help smooth them out. I often use a little sugar in tomato dishes to even out the acidity from the tomatoes. Both the anchovy paste and sugar can be left out, but you’ll miss them. But whatever you do, don’t leave out the sherry! Sherry is the difference between a good soup, and a truly delicious soup. The alcohol cooks off and you’re left with a creamy warm depth of flavor that’s hard to get any other way.

Serve this stew solo with a slice of crusty bread, or my favorite, serve over cooked rice. Top with as much parsley as you can stand.

Portuguese Fisherman’s Stew — Southeast Alaska style

Time: 40 minutes

Serves: 12-plus

1 pound red potatoes, cut into one inch pieces

2 Tbsp olive oil, divided

(optional) 1/2 pound spicy longanisa (or linguica or chorizo) sausage – 1/4 inch slices

1 large onion, diced

1 large leek, diced

2 tsp smoked paprika

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp anchovy paste

1/4 cup sherry

5 cups chicken stock (or fish/salmon if you have it)

2 bay leaves

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes, with the juice

1 8-ounce can tomato puree

1 tsp sugar

1 pound steamer clams

1 pound salmon, boned, skinned, and cut into ½ inch pieces

1 pound mussels

1/3 cup Kalamata olives, halved

1/2 cup parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss potatoes with one tablespoon olive oil and roast on a baking sheet until golden brown, about twenty minutes.

While your potatoes are in the oven, heat a seven quart, or larger, heavy-bottomed soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Brown your sausage, about four minutes. If you’re using a raw sausage like longanisa, brown the whole sausages in the skin (you’ll slice it later). Set sausage aside, heat up one tablespoon olive oil in the same pot and stir in diced onion and leek, cook over medium-low heat until clear. Stir in the smoked paprika and let cook another minute. Add the garlic and anchovy paste and cook for another two minutes. Pour in sherry, stirring to scrape up any of the browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot, cook for another minute or two until you can smell the alcohol cooking off. Add stock, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, the crushed tomatoes with their juice, tomato puree, sugar, the roasted potatoes and all of the sausage. Again, if you are using a raw sausage, leave the sausage whole in the casing, you’re essentially poaching it in the stew. Bring to a boil. Once soup is boiling, carefully add clams, mussels, salmon and kalamata olives. If you’re using a seven quart pot, your pot will be very full, so carefully stir in the seafood as you add it to ensure it all gets fully submerged. Cook for about eight minutes or until seafood is just cooked through.

Reduce heat to low. If you’re cooking with fresh sausage, using tongs, remove the whole sausages, which should be cooked through at this point, and slice into ¼ inch slices on the diagonal. Return sliced sausage to the stew. Remove and discard any clams or mussels that haven’t opened. Season soup to taste. Let sit 15-30 minutes before serving.

Serve over cooked rice, or with a slice of crusty bread, and top with fresh parsley and a drizzle of good olive oil.

• Erin Anais Heist is a food blogger in Juneau. Readers can contact her at foodabe.com, or on Instagram or Twitter at @erinanais. “Eating Wild” recipes publish every other week. This is the last column of the season, and will resume in Spring 2019.


• Erin Anais Heist is a food blogger in Juneau. Readers can contact her at foodabe.com, or on Instagram or Twitter at @erinanais. “Eating Wild” recipes publish every other week. This is the last column of the season, and will resume in Spring 2019.


Erin Anais Heist prepares her tomato-based Portuguese fisherman’s stew with a variety of seafood, spicy sausage, potatoes and smoked paprika in her home kitchen on Friday, Dec. 14, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Erin Anais Heist prepares her tomato-based Portuguese fisherman’s stew with a variety of seafood, spicy sausage, potatoes and smoked paprika in her home kitchen on Friday, Dec. 14, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Erin Anais Heist prepares her tomato-based Portuguese fisherman’s stew with a variety of seafood, spicy sausage, potatoes and smoked paprika in her home kitchen on Friday, Dec. 14, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Erin Anais Heist prepares her tomato-based Portuguese fisherman’s stew with a variety of seafood, spicy sausage, potatoes and smoked paprika in her home kitchen on Friday, Dec. 14, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

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