Friday, 12 August 2011

Zarzuela, a traditional Spanish Seafood dish

Today's recipe is for a classic Spanish seafood dish, Zarzuela:

Seafood Zarzuela

For the Seafood:
12 mussels, scrubbed clean and de-bearded
12 clams, scrubbed clean and rinsed
250ml dry white wine
250g monkfish fillets, skinned and sliced into large chunks
250g halibut fillet, sliced into large chunks
6 king prawns, peeled (but with tail fins left on)
5 tbsp virgin olive oil
6 cooked langoustines (Dublin bay prawns)
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
2 lemons cut into wedges, to garnish

For the Picada:
2 slices of white bread, fried and cubed
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
9 almonds, coarsely chopped
125ml extra-virgin olive oil

For the Sofregit:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tsp sweet paprika
200g tinned, chopped, tomatoes
1/2 tsp saffron threads, crumbled and soaked in 1 tbsp boiling water
3 bayleaves
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

Begin with the picada. Combine the fried bread, garlic and almonds in a small food processor. Process finely, then, with the motor still running, slowly add the oil to form a loose paste.

For the shellfish, place the wine in a large pan and bring to a boil. Add the mussels and clams, cover and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes (shake the pan frequently), or until the shells have opened. Arrange a colander over a bowl and pour in the mixture. Transfer the shellfish to a bowl and cover loosely. Reserve the stock to make your sofregit.

Now prepare the sofregit itself. Heat the oil in a pan, add the onion and garlic and fry gently for about 8 minutes, or until soft and golden brown. Stir in the paprika, tomatoes and the saffron water. Now pour in the reserved shellfish stock (leave any sediment behind). Add the bayleaves and season with salt and black pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook gently for 10 minutes (add water or wine if the mixture becomes too thick).

Season the fish and prawns liberally with salt and black pepper. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan, add the monkfish and halibut pieces and fry until golden brown on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside to keep warm. Stir 3 tbsp water into the pan to deglaze and pour this liquid into the sofregit then wipe the pan dry.

Heat the remaining 3 tbsp oil in the pan and when hot add the king prawns and fry until just pink. Add the langoustines and heat through for 1 minute, turning them frequently during this time. Now pour in the sofregit mixture and add the monkfish and halibut back into the pan before stirring in the shellfish. Allow to gently heat through for a few minutes.

Add a few tablespoons of the cooking liquid to the picada then fold this mixture into the seafood sauce. Turn into a large serving dish and accompany with the lemon wedges.

You can find many more classic and traditional Spanish recipes on the Celtnet site, as part of the site's Southern European recipes collection.

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