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Zarzuela De Mariscos A La Catalana (traditional Catalan Fish Stew)

  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound fresh squid, cleaned and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • Spanish brandy
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups clam juice or seafood stock
  • 1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 pound fresh sea bass fillets, sliced into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/2 pound angler fish fillets, sliced into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/2 pound scampi, peeled
  • 1 dozen clams, scrubbed
  • 1 dozen mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Loaf crusty bread
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 cup blanched almonds, roasted
  • 1/4 cup blanched hazelnuts, roasted
  • 1 slice fried bread
  • 1 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  • In a large Dutch oven, over medium heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté until wilted. Season the squid with salt and pepper. Add to the onions and sauté for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat, add the brandy and carefully flame. Shake the pan back and forth several times until the flame dies out. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Add the clam juice and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Season the shrimp, fish and scampi with salt and pepper. Add the clams, mussels, scampi, shrimp and fish fillets to the pot, cover and cook for about 10 minutes, or until all of the shells have opened and the shrimp/scampi is fully cooked, (**they will turn pink and there tails will curl completely in). Stir in the picada sauce. Remove from the heat and ladle into serving bowls.
  • Garnish with parsley and serve with crusty bread.
  • PICADA SAUCE: Using a mortar and pestle or a spice mill or a food processor, grind the garlic, nuts and bread together. Add the parsley and mash until incorporated. Add in enough oil to the mixture to form a thick paste, about 1/4 cup. Season with salt and pepper. Use in the fish stew (see next recipe)
  • Yield: about 1/2 cup