Zarzuela – Amazing Spanish Seafood Soup!

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zarzuelaYep you guessed it… yet another Spanish dish!!!…ole ole ole!! But I promise you this dish will not disappoint! In fact I would go as far as saying that this dish is my new found FAVOURITE dish of all time! But I guess when you combine my two favourite things..good seafood and Spanish flavours (tomatoes, olive oil and saffron) it would have been pretty hard to go wrong! I am telling you though..I could not get over the depth of flavour in this dish! It was devine! And it seemed that no one around the table could hold back from going back for seconds..or maybe even thirds?! If you’ve got the time and are a seafood lover like myself, invite some friends around and whip up a storm in the kitchen with this Spanish masterpiece! Though this recipe is primarily adapted from a recipe off the internet I couldnt help but add in a few of my own ideas as well so here is what I did from memory…
What you need…
For the Picada Sauce:
 Olive oil
2 slices bread
3 cloves garlic
bunch of parsley
1/2 cup blanched almonds
For the soup:
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
3 cloves garlic crushed
pinch of saffron
1 heaped tsp paprika
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 fresh squid tube, cleaned and cut into triangular pieces
Spanish brandy (or any Brandy will do!)
1.5 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups clam juice or seafood stock
1 can crushed tomatoes
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp caster sugar
300g white fish (we used beautiful fresh snapper but any firm white fish will do)
250g salmon fillet
500g green tiger prawns
1kg fresh clams, scrubbed
(or put together your own combination of seafood…this combination is just what was available/looked the best at the seafood market!)
1 recipe Picada (see recipe below)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
Loaf crusty bread
What to do….
For the Picada sauce (make this beforehand):
To prepare your picada sauce, lightly toast your almonds over medium heat and set aside while you use the same pan to pan fry the 2 slices of bread in a good dash of olive oil. Then break up your bread into chunks and add to a food processor along with almonds, garlic and the parsley. Season with salt and pepper before blitzing it into a fine crumb mixture. Then add enough olive oil to make a nice think paste (approx 3 tbsp). Set aside for later! 🙂
For the soup…
In a large heavy based pot, over medium heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until wilted then add the garlic as well as a good pinch of saffron and the paprika and saute for another minute or two. Season the squid with salt and pepper. Add to the onions and saute 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 seafood stock and tinned tomatoes and bring to the boil. Add the balsamic vinegar and sugar and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
Add the clams, prawns and fish fillets to the pot, cover and cook for about 10 minutes, or until all of the shells have opened and the prawns are fully cooked.  Stir in the picada sauce. Remove from the heat and ladle into serving bowls. Garnish with parsley and serve with crusty bread heated up in the oven.

Not only does this dish taste ridiculously AMAZING it is also a very heart healthy meal with plenty of good fats – omega 3’s from the seafood and monounsaturated fats from the nuts and olive oil and very low in the nasty saturated fats!

So while it is probably not an every day meal..it sure makes a good dinner party dish and will be sure to please the crowds!
Enjoy!
A
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