Zarzuela Seafood Stew
I’m anxiously awaiting a warm holiday, so in the meantime, my travels will have to be done through food. This week’s supper challenge is themed “Spanish,” in consideration of the anniversary of Kent’s first cook, Paella. I love seafood. My distance to the ocean is further than I’d like, which also means that I do have frozen seafood at my disposal. Ideally, fresh seafood is used and available, but if not, frozen seafood goes unnoticed with a bowl of Zarzuela. And to be honest, I saw a word that has 2 “z’s.” The rarity of the letter being used twice in one word, is intriguing.
Key to Zarzuela as a Spanish seafood stew, is the notable rich, earthy addition of ground almonds. Similar cousins to this tomato based stew, is French seafood stew, Bouillabaisse or Italian-American seafood stew, Cioppino. This tomato based seafood stew is simple, quick and a nice contrast to the Prairies based menu I am accustomed to. I am still waiting for a trip somewhere though….
Taste: Rich seafood flavor without being fishy, tomato is a nice tang
Texture: I recommend using finely ground almonds , my coarse ground was a little bit gritty.
Non Traditional Recommendation: addition of finely chopped kale for more fiber
Zarzuela Seafood Stew
- 2 slices bacon chopped fine (or ¼ cup bacon bits)
- 1 medium onion diced
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika optional
- ½ cup white wine
- 4 threads saffron
- 1 cup of canned or fresh diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 cups fish stock/ stock made from shrimp shells/ chicken broth
- ¼ cup almond flour or finely ground almonds
- 1 lb clams or/and mussels with or without shells (can be frozen)
- 1 lb medium shrimp shells removed (can be used to make stock) or white fish (can be frozen)
- 1 lb medium scallops can be frozen
- 1 bunch of curly kale chopped, optional (and not traditional)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley optional
- 2 stalks of green onion diced crosswise, optional
- Buttered / olive oil brushed toast optional
- On medium heat, in a large deep saucepan (or large pot for surface area), brown bacon.
- Add onion and garlic and stirring from time to time until onion is starting to tenderize.
- Add red bell pepper to the bacon-onion mixture and cook until onion is transparent and soft.
- Stir in bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, paprika and cook for 2 more minutes where there is no moisture in the bottom of the pan.
- Add white wine to pan (also know as deglazing the pan).
- Stir in saffron. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste and fish stock.
- Bring the saucepan contents to a simmer.
- Stir in almond flour/ ground almonds and allow contents to reduce on a simmer for 15 minutes until thickened.
- Stir in clams or/and mussels and cook for 2 minutes.
- Stir in shrimp and scallops until shrimp turns pink and scallops are firmer. Optional: stir in kale (will turn vibrant green)
- Season with salt, pepper.
- Garnish with parsley and green onion.
- Serve with buttered / olive oil brushed toast, if desired.