Mark Chapman, restaurant executive at Gambas, gives us the exclusive recipe for his favourite autumnal dish, Zarzuela, and trust us - it’s delicious!
Let’s start by cooking the mussels and clams. Make sure they are clean (remove the beard of the mussels and soak the clams in cold water with salt for about 20 minutes to remove the sand).
Place the mussels in a saucepan, with a little bit of water (150ml) and a splash of white wine. Cover it and cook until they are just open, approximately 2-3 minutes. Do not overcook them! Take the mussels out and keep the liquid for later. Do the same thing with the clams and keep the liquid too.
Toast the almonds at 160c in the oven for approximately 8 minutes or until golden brown, then leave to the side.
In a frying pan, add a little bit of olive oil and cook the prawns on a high heat for about 20 seconds on each side, remove from the pan and keep.
In the same pan, fry the slices of bread until they are golden on both sides, remove them from the pan and keep.
Flour the fish in big pieces (approximately 2x2cm dice), making sure you take out the excess flour by shaking it in your hands or in a sieve, and in the same pan add a little bit more oil and cook until it’s golden on the outside. Remember to constantly turn the fish, we do not overcook it (we will finish it in the sauce/stock). If you want to make this recipe Gluten-Free just avoid this step and cook the fish straight in the stock. Obviously, don’t fry the bread slices either!
In the same pan, we are going to cook the “sofrito” now, which will be the base of our stew. Cut the onion, red pepper and green pepper in brunoise (small dice) and cook in the pan with olive oil and a pinch of salt until soft and a little bit golden.
A few minutes before you finish the veggies, cut the squid into rings and add (leave it whole if it’s baby squid), then cook for 2 more minutes.
Add the grated tomatoes, saffron, pimenton, Nora paste and cook for a few more minutes until there’s no more water left from the tomatoes. Add white wine and once the mix is reduced a little (about 3 or 4 minutes) add the liquid from the mussels and the clams and cook it on low heat for about 5 more minutes, reducing it a little further.
Once reduced, place all the seafood ingredients previously cooked; mussels, clams, fish, prawns, into the pot and cook for another 5 more minutes. Season with salt to taste. Take it off the heat.
Meanwhile, grab a pestle and mortar (or choose the pulse setting on your blender) and mix together parsley, fried bread, almonds and garlic. In Spain, they call this “picada”, and it will thicken the sauce of the stew. Add this to the pot and cook for a couple more minutes to integrate the picada.
Serve with chopped fresh parsley on top.
ZARZUELA (SEAFOOD STEW)
with hake, mussels, clams and prawns
Feeds 4 people
1.5 litres fish stock
300g hake or monkfish
(or half of each)
4 tiger prawns L2 in size
(one per person)
1 white onion
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 tbsp Nora paste
(or tomato paste)
150ml white wine
300ml extra virgin olive oil
50g plain flour
¼ bunch parsley
2 cloves of garlic
3 bread slices
Pinch of salt
1 tsp pimenton (paprika) spicy or sweet
Traditionally served in a Casserole
or Terracotta pot