Spanish Seafood Stew

Posted By Stephen

We decided on something of a Spanish theme this weekend and chose a recipe from one of each of the Spanish cookbooks that we have; this one is from “The Food of Northern Spain”. We’ve cooked something similar before and thought we’d give it another go.

This version contained mussels, and since we could only get them in a bag rather than loose, we ended up with rather more of them than planned:

We first made Romesco, which contained garlic, chilli, hazelnuts, almonds, bread, paprika, olive oil and vinegar. It should have contained ñoras peppers, or possibly ancho chillies if those weren’t available but we didn’t have either, hence the paprika. I bashed all of this up in a mortar and pestle until it was smooth; it smelled and tasted really good, especially the nuttiness of the fried garlic and the nuttiness of the… er… nuts, which were complemented well by the slight heat from the chilli and paprika and the sour notes of the vinegar.

We coated the fish in seasoned flour before frying it, then removed it and fried two tablespoons of romesco before adding wine and then fish stock and potatoes that had been cooked in the fish stock. After this, we put the fish back into the casserole along with the mussels, and put it all into the oven for 15 minutes.

The flavours were good, but disappointingly not quite concentrated enough; I think we might have got the ratios wrong. We were supposedly doing half the recipe, but had more than half the amount of fish stock, so we upped the romesco to make up for it but maybe not quite enough. Or it was our non-purist substitution of paprika for ñoras peppers. That said though, when we were clearing up and I tasted the sauce that was left in the bottom of the casserole (can’t let good food go to waste!) it did taste rather good and a lot more concentrated than when we’d been eating it.

And on the plus side, we have loads of delicious romesco left over, which we can use as a sauce or dip.

Before dinner, we roasted some almonds to drink with some Cava, as another Spanish addition to the evening:

The almonds look a bit shiny there, but they weren’t that shiny in real life. The Cava that we had with them was Gramona Imperial Gran Reserva 2003, which we had bought when we visited Barcelona last year. It really was one of the nicest Cavas we’ve had: full, ripe fruit elegantly balanced and a touch of floral on the nose. And a lovely golden hue in the glass. Rather like some vintage Champagnes.

It’s just a pity that the label on the bottle is a bit boring. We have been collecting labels from wine bottles and putting them into a frame; it’s nice to have labels from wines that we’ve really liked, but it’s also nice to have ones that look interesting.

Apr 19th, 2008

3 Comments to 'Spanish Seafood Stew'

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  1. Antonia said,

    I love the idea of framing favourite labels from bottles of wine you’ve particularly enjoyed.
    This Spanish stew looks great – I hardly ever cook Spanish dishes and really should get myself a good Spanish cook book.

  2. Lizzie said,

    I love Spanish food, and this looks gorgeous. I love the idea of a glass of cava (which I actually prefer to Champagne) and some almonds before dinner! Would you recommend ‘The Foods of Northern Spain’ as a starting point? I don’t think I’ve ever cooked Spanish food either.

  3. Kerri said,

    We have two books by the same author (Jenny Chandler) and they’re both very good. They both include a history of the area (be it Spain in general or Northern Spain) and also very straight-forward recipes. Most of the things we’ve cooked from both books have come out well and I’d definitely recommend one or both of them.

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