Thursday, March 8, 2012

Zarzuela

In Regina, I have to settle for  Pacific Fresh Fish which,
considering that they are about 7700 km from 
Barcelona, is pretty good.
I do like Spanish food. I make a mean Paella and a couple of other Spanish dishes but what I need to do now is to go to Spain, do some research even if I do put on a few pounds doing it.
I made this the other night and it was great.
Zarzuela takes it's name from the Spanish word for a type of musical theatre or operetta because of the wild variety which makes it up.   
It is sort of Spain's answer to bouillabaisse.
You can use all kinds of seafood so feel free to mix and match. 
It is simple but concise. Outside of the seafood, don't mess with the process too much and it will turn out very well.


Ingredients


A large pinch of saffron threads
6 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp thyme
2 bay leaves
1 bell pepper (red, yellow, orange) seeded then chopped into small pieces
1 500 ml can of chopped tomatoes (I use the ones mixed with garlic and olive oil)
1 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
1 1/2 cup fish stock. (In a pinch you could use chicken stock)
1 cup blanched almonds toasted, then finely ground
Salt and pepper
1 dozen mussels
1 dozen clams
1 lb white-fish (cod, haddock or some other) cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
1 dozen large raw shrimp
3 small squid cut unto small pieces
1 dozen bay scallops
1 loaf of crusty bread (For those in Regina I recommend Orange Boot Bakery)

Put the saffron is a small bowl and add a few Tbsp of boiling water. Let it sit.

Take a large pan with high sides and turn the heat up to medium high. Add a good glug of olive oil the put in the onions and reduce the heat to medium and when they are translucent, careful not to burn them, add the garlic, thyme, peppers and the bay leaves. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Until the red peppers are soft.

Meanwhile which put 3/4 of the tomatoes in a blender and purรฉe them.

Add the tomatoes, the paprika and simmer for 5 minutes or so.

Add the fish stock and the saffron then the almonds to the pot and bring it to a boil stirring often.

Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5 or 10 minutes.

Stir in the white-fish then add all the other seafood.

Cover the pot and let it simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.

Check to make sure the seafood is cooked.

Throw away any of the shellfish that didn't open.

Serve with lots of crusty bread to soak up the sauce.

You could serve a salad or a plate of olives on the side.