Sarsuela

Sam and Eddie Hart cook up a shoal of seafood in this zesty sherry and pernod-spiked stew
By Sam and Eddie Hart
Sarsuela
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

For the soup base

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 gurnard, or other rockfish about 1kg, or 2 smaller fish, 500g each, cleaned
  • 1 orange, zest only, finely grated
  • 3 onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 kg tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 stick celery
  • 4 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 head of garlic, sliced in half horizontally
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 300 ml Manzanilla sherry
  • 200 ml dry anis or Pernod
  • small pinch strands saffron
  • 3 litres of water

For the sarsuela

  • olive oil, for frying
  • 6 large raw prawns, cleaned
  • 6 large raw langoustines, (preferably live)
  • 6 medallions of hake
  • 6 small whole red mullet, cleaned, or 6 medium red mullet fillets
  • 250 g squid, cleaned and cut into 1cm rings
  • 30 fresh clams or small mussels
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 bulb fennel, finely chopped
  • lemon juice, to taste
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped

To serve

  • bread
  • alioli, to serve

Method

1. For the soup base: heat the olive oil in a heavy-based casserole, add the whole fish and the orange zest and fry, mashing the fish down with back of a spoon, until deep brown.

2. Add the onions, tomatoes, celery, carrots and garlic and continue to cook over a medium heat for 20 minutes. Add the tomato puree and cook for a further 10 minutes.

3. Add the sherry and anis, bring to the boil and then, off the heat, carefully ignite to burn off the alcohol. Return to the heat, add the saffron and water, and bring to the boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 40-50 minutes, skimming off any impurities that rise to the surface from time to time.

4. Strain the contents of the casserole twice through a fine sieve and reserve the liquid, discarding the residue.

5. For the sarsuela: in a large, heavy based casserole heat a 5mm depth of olive oil until very hot but not smoking. Take all the seafood except the clams and season with salt and pepper. Fry in batches for about 2 minutes on each side. Carefully remove from the pan and set aside.

6. Gently fry the onions and fennel in the casserole, for around 5 minutes adding a little more oil if necessary. Add the soup base and bring to the boil, scraping up the sediment at the bottom of the casserole. As soon as the liquid comes to boil, lower the heat and simmer gently for about 10 minutes.

7. Add the fried seafood and cook for a further 5 minutes before adding the clams and cooking for a final 5 minutes, or until all of the clams have opened up.

8. Season with salt and pepper and add a generous squeeze of lemon juice to taste. Scatter chopped parsley over the sarsuela and serve with alioli and plenty of good bread.

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