Don't let the long list of ingredients daunt you, it is really a tomato based stew with a few key ingredients that make it really amazing - almond meal! fresh rosemary and thyme! Honestly, who knew that a simple combination like that could transform a dish!
This dish definitely goes in the "smack your mama" file, meaning I should whack her a good one for never telling/making this for me! Yeah, it's that good!
So start out the new year with a list of must-make recipes and put this one at the top!
Zarzuela de Mariscos - Spanish Seafood Stew (adapted from Slow Burning Passion)
3 wild caught prawns, deshelled and deveined
1/3 lb mussels, cleaned of their beards (just cut off the stringy bit on the outside of the shell)
small pinch saffron
1/4 cup white wine
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 piece bacon, diced
2 cups seafood stock (I make mine from crab and prawn shells and then freeze it)
2 bay leaves
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
1/2 cup diced tomatoes (canned is fine)
1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
Grind the almonds to meal in a spice or coffee grinder; do not over process or it will begin to turn into almond butter. Set aside. Add the saffron to the wine and allow to bloom.
In a heavy bottom stock pot (large enough to contain the seafood when you add it later), heat oil over medium high heat for 1 minute and add the bacon and fry until crisp. Remove bacon and set aside. Add more oil if needed and saute the onion and bell pepper until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and fresh herbs and cook another 3-4 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the wine and add the tomatoes, tomato paste and salt and pepper to taste.
Pour in the stock and bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes until the tomatoes begin to break down. Add the almond meal and stir well to thicken. Submerge the prawns and the scallops in the stew and add the mussels on top and cover and cook until mussels open, about 4-5 minutes. Discard any mussels that did not open and serve the stew garnished with lemon wedges and minced parsley.