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Zarzuela des mariscos (Catalan seafood stew)

Published on December 22, 2014
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Catalan fish stew

Cook up a Mediterranean storm with this Catalan seafood stew recipe from chef Julian Alcaraz of Southernhay House

Serves 4

You will need

  • Clams 250g
  • Mussels 250g
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • Garlic 4 cloves
  • King prawns 12
  • Langoustines 8
  • Pine nuts 100g
  • Hard bread a day old
  • Fresh parsley handful
  • Fish stock 500ml
  • Tomato passata 250ml
  • Saffron pinch of, soaked for 10 minutes in ½ cup of hot water
  • Paprika pinch of
  • Scallops 8
  • Sea bass and sea bream 1 fillet of each (or any white fish)
  • Plain flour


  1. Steam the clams and mussels in a covered pan with a little olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper until they open (about 3-5 minutes). Discard any that do not open. Ease the meat out of the open shells.
  2. In a new pan, heat the garlic in some olive oil and pan-fry the prawns and langoustines for 5 minutes.
  3. Take another pan and carefully toast the pine nuts for just a few seconds, then remove. Using the same pan, add a little olive oil and fry the bread. In a processor (or with a pestle and mortar) mix the pine nuts, bread, fresh parsley and enough olive oil to make a thick paste.
  4. In a big pan, bring all the above ingredients together with the stock and passata. Add the saffron and its water and the paprika. Simmer over a low heat for up to an hour until the stew has thickened.
  5. In the meantime, prepare the white fish and scallops: dice the bass and the bream into small portions. Dredge the fish and scallops in a little seasoned flour and fry in a hot pan until crispy (no more than 5 minutes). Place on kitchen paper to drain and keep warm.
  6. Taste the fish stew and season as needed.
  7. Serve in shallow bowls with fried fish scattered on top.

Chef’s tip: ‘The ingredients can be adapted to whatever is at your local fishmongers,’ says Julian Alcaraz, head chef at Southernhay House

Southernhay House, 36 Southernhay East, Exeter EX1 1NX

01392 439000

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