Fish and Seafood
My wife put this recipe together and I took pictures of it. She adapted it from a cookbook, Fish & Seafood that was part of a series called What’s Cooking. I think I picked it up on sale at Costco years ago. It was published in 2000.
There are some amazing looking recipes which is why I bought it but I think this is the first recipe we tried from it. Not sure why, but I often buy cookbooks that look good and have a couple of recipes I want to try but never get around to trying them.
A chef told me once if he finds ONE great recipe in a cookbook, it’s worth the price. I’d personally like to find two, three or four really good recipes that I’d make again to call it a successful purchase. What’s Cooking – Fish & Seafood looks like it has more than that and if they are as tasty as this one, I’m in luck.
Catalonia is a part of Spain that borders France and the Mediterranean Sea. It was colonized originally by the Ancient Greeks and has a long cultural history. I guess you can say its food is Mediterranean and because of its location on the sea, seafood is very important.
What really gives Catalan food its uniqueness are the sauces for their fish and meat dishes. According to www.aboutbarcelona.com, “There are five main types: sofregit (fried onion, tomato and garlic); samfaina or chanfaina (sofregit plus red pepper and aubergine or courgette); picada (based on ground almonds, usually with garlic, parsley, pine or hazel nuts, and sometimes breadcrumbs); aioli (pounded garlic with olive oil, often with egg yolk added to make more of a mayonnaise); and romesco (an almond, tomato, olive oil, garlic and vinegar sauce, also used as a salad dressing).”
Is your mouth watering yet?
This dish uses two of these classics – the sofregit (sofrito), where the onion & tomato are slowly cooked and then garlic is added and picada, a combination of almonds, garlic and bread. Don’t get nervous with all the different names and ingredients. This is not a difficult recipe.
Fish Stew Recipe – Spanish Style
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, finely chopped
2 ripe tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and diced
2 slices white bread, remove the crusts
4 toasted almonds
3 garlic cloves, chopped roughly
12 oz. of cooked lobster (we just happened to have some cooked leftover lobster from a previous dinner)
7 oz cleaned squid (we omitted this item - not sure the girls would appreciate it although they love calamari)
7 oz. monkfish (also sometimes referred to as "poor man's lobster")
7 oz. cod fillet, no skin
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
6 large shrimp
6 langoustines (also know as Norway lobster or Dublin Bay prawn - a crustacean that looks like a small lobster or big crayfish. We didn't use them in our version of this recipe. I'm not sure I could even find them around here.)
18 live mussels, cleaned and beards removed
8 live clams, cleaned
1 tablespoon of fresh parsley, chopped
½ cup brandy
Salt and pepper, to taste
How To Prepare At Home
Preparing the Sofrito
Add 3 tablespoons of oil to a large frying pan and add the onions. Cook the onions gently on low - medium heat for 10 minutes until they are caramelized and golden brown. If they start to stick to the pan, you can add a little water. Add the tomatoes and continue cooking until they break down.
Preparing the Picada
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in another pan and fry the bread slices until crisp. Add the bread to a food processor along with the almonds and 2 garlic cloves and process until it forms a fine paste.
Preparing the Seafood
If you are starting with an uncooked lobster, boil it until done and then remove the meat from the tail and the claws. You can mess with the other part of the lobster, but I would save it for making seafood stock for bisque or soup.
Slice the squid into rings if you didn't buy them already sliced.
Cooking the Seafood
Dust the cod, lobster and monkfish with a little flour. Brown all the seafood separately in a frying pan with the remaining oil. Start with the cod, then the monkfish, lobster, squid and finish with the shrimp. Once browned, add all the seafood to a large flameproof casserole pan.
Now you add the clams and mussels to the top of the fish, sprinkle with the remaining garlic and parsley. Add the brandy to the pan (off heat and be very careful) and ignite. Keep your hands and face away from the pan so you don't burn yourself.
When the flame goes out, add the pan back to the stove, add the tomato mixture (sofrito) and just enough water to cover the seafood. Bring this to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. When all the mussels and clams have opened, you are done. Be sure to discard and mussels or clams that didn't open.
Finish by stirring in the bread mixture, taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Let this continue simmering for 5 minutes to make sure all the fish is tender and good.
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