Zarzuela (Catalan and Balearic Fish and Shellfish Casserole)
In our series of Spanish recipes in accordance with the mediterranean diet we recommend the fabulous and healthy classic Zarzuela recipe: a typical dish from coastal areas of Spain. Zarzuela de Mariscos is a stew of various fish and shellfish that is typical in the kitchens of northern Spain. It is very popular in the province of Castellón and in certain coastal areas of Catalonia. The fish and seafood stew zarzuela has been sometimes called the Spanish bouillabaisse.
Recipe for 4-6 people
- Extra Virgin Olive oil (100% Arbequina Olive Oil)
- 500 grams of squid rings,
- 500 grams of filets of anglerfish cut into large dices
- 500 gr. of hake (Recommended Wild Hake Fillets)
- 500 gr. of langoustines or prawns
- Four lobsters
- 500 gr. of mussels
- 1 large onion
- 2 large ripe tomatoes
- 2 red and 2 green peppers
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 glass of dry sherry
- 1 small glass of brandy or rum
- 2 garlic cloves
- several strands of saffron
- 6 toasted and peeled almonds
- 1 lemon
- large crusts of bread cut into triangles and fried
- 2 María biscuits (brown biscuits)
- Salt and pepper
Start by frying the vegetables cut into dice in a frying pan.
Poach the onion, the red and green peppers.
Once having poached the onion and peppers, we add the peeled and seedless tomatoes.
We allow the cooking during 20 minutes over low heat making sure the onions turn brown and the peppers become cooked.
After the first 10 minutes we pour over the sherry and brandy waiting for the liquid to absorb.
Pour the vegetable fried mixture preferably into clay (or alternatively) a metal saucepan or casserole dish. Cover the fish cuts in frying flour making sure flour layers are thin.
Use the first frying pan after adding olive oil to sautée the fish and shellfish (not the squid) at medium heat, having previously seasoned it with salt and pepper.
In parallel place the mussels in a separate saucepan covering it with a lid after having added a finger of water, waiting 5 minutes till they open up. Don’t throw away the broth coming out of the mussels since we will need it.
Add the edible parts of the mussels to the frying pan with the fish and shellfish.
Remove the fish and shellfish and set aside before having fully cooked, since the content will have to simmer at a later stage.
Take the oil off the fish pieces by placing the fish cuts on kitchen paper.
Now is the moment to add the squid rings (after adding salt and pepper) on the saucepan where we fried the vegetables.
Next add the mussel broth and cook further until the level of liquid has come down.
We add the partially cooked (fried) fish and shellfish to the saucepan. Once the fish, shellfish and squids are placed pour over the mussel stock. The sauce should be shallow, not covering the ingredients of the dish.
Leave it to simmer for about fifteen minutes at medium heat letting the level of liquid go down and checking for salt.
In parallel to the 15 minutes using a small mortar, grind the saffron, the peeled garlic cloves, several parsley leaves, the almonds and the biscuits; grinding until achieving a fine paste which may be dissolved using a little sauce from the dish.
Once the paste is ready, pour it evenly into the content of the saucepan.
Before serving, remove the bay leaf, sprinkle with lemon and chopped parsley, and use the fried bread crusts to decorate the edges.