Zarzuela de Mariscos
(Spanish seafood stew)
The recipe can be completed through Step 4 and stored in the refrigerator. The stew will actually improve in flavor. Bring back to a simmer and add the fish and seafood just before serving.
4 to 6 servings
- Fish and shellfish (see variations), cleaned and prepared -- 3 pounds
- Olive oil -- 1/4 cup
- Onion, minced -- 1
- Red, green or yellow bell peppers, small dice -- 2
- Garlic, minced -- 3 to 5 cloves
- Serrano ham or prosciutto (optional), sliced into thin strips -- 1/4 cup
- Tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced -- 3 to 4 cups
- Almonds, ground in a spice grinder or food processor -- 1/2 cup
- Bay leaf -- 1
- Saffron -- pinch
- Salt and pepper -- to taste
- White wine -- 1 cup
- Water or stock -- 3 cups
- Lemon juice -- 1 tablespoon
- Parsley, minced -- 2 to 3 tablespoons
- Clean and prepare your fish and shellfish as directed below. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high flame. Add the onion, peppers and garlic and saute until onion turns translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the ham or prosciutto and saute for another 1 to 2 minutes.
- Stir in the tomatoes, ground almonds, bay leaf, saffron and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes to marry the flavors and reduce the liquid somewhat.
- Add the wine and simmer to reduce its volume by about half. Then add the water or stock, lemon juice and parsley. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 more minutes.
- Add the fish and seafood to the stew. Cover with a lid and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until everything is cooked through. Do not overcook. Adjust seasoning and serve.
Zarzuela de Mariscos Variations
- Use whatever fresh fish and seafood is available. Any firm, white-fleshed fish, cut into large chunks, is a good base. Other possible additions include calamari, shrimp, scallops, mussels, clams, crab, lobster and crayfish.
- Add a pinch of thyme or rosemary if you like.
- Add a dash of anise liqueur to perk up the flavor.
- If both Serrano ham and prosciutto are unavailable, use a good quality cured ham.
- Substitute hazelnuts for the almonds.