Legendary Dishes | Zarzuela (fish stew)


Alive with all the fish of the sea, this stew is a grand and loud. Clams, cod, conger, cuttlefish, langoustines, lobsters, monkfish, mussels, prawns, shrimp, squid all play a part in this amazing opera. This is a small zarzuela with prawns, shrimp and squid, with all the flavourings.

  • 500 g prawns
  • 500 g squid / cuttlefish, cut into small pieces
  • 300 g tomatoes, chopped
  • 250 g shrimp
  • 250 ml fish stock
  • 250 ml white wine
  • 125 g onions, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 lemon, juice
  • 60 g garlic, crushed
  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 50 g almonds, coarse chopped
  • 50 g Serrano ham / bacon, cubed
  • 25 g cilantro / coriander leaves
  • 4 pimentos / piri piri chillies
  • 1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • Salt, pinch
  • Saffron, pinch
  • Thyme, pinch

Make a stock with shellfish heads and skins, about 20 minutes, strain. In a wide deep frying pan sauté bacon, garlic and onion in two tablespoons of oil for five minutes over a high heat, add almonds, pimentos, red pepper and tomatoes, cook into a paste with no visible liquid. Add thyme, saffron and seasonings. Add remaining oil, wine and lemon juice and bring to the boil.

Reduce heat to low, add prawns and squid, and enough of the stock to bring the level of the liquid above the fish. Cover and cook for five minutes. Stir in shrimp, add cilantro, cook for three minutes. Serve with crusty white bread.