This is a delicious recipe, you can use it with just about any seafood you like. We made it with some fish that Hector gave us, and some squat lobsters. Any mixture of fillets of white fish, mussels, prawns, etcetera could be used. I started with a recipe in ‘Jerusalem’ by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. A few adaptations were made – I want to use local fresh seafood, and good cooking tomatoes are not always available.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 2 fennel bulbs, cut into thin segmental wedges
- 1 large firm-fleshed potato such as Maris Piper, or 200g of any waxy potatoes, cut into 1.5cm cubes.
- 700 ml fish, vegetable or chicken stock
- 1/2 a medium preserved lemon, finely chopped
- 1 red chilli
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp sweet paprika
- a pinch of saffron
- chopped fresh parsley
- mixed prepared seafood – enough for four people, around 600g
- 3 tbsp raki or similar spirit
- 1 tsp dried tarragon
- salt and pepper
- Put a wide casserole dish over a low heat, and add the olive oil, and gently fry the garlic for a couple of minutes
- Add the fennel and potato, and cook for a further three to four minutes
- Add stock, preserved lemon, a pinch of salt and black pepper, and bring to a simmer. Cook for around 12 minutes, until the potatoes are done.
- Add the chilli, tomatoes, paprika, saffron, half the parsley, tarragon, and cook through for another few minutes. Add the raki and bring to the boil.
- Add the seafood, and enough boiling water to cover, bring back to the boil and cover, cooking fast for three to five minutes, until the fish is just done.
- Serve over couscous, garnished with chopped parsley.
The original recipe suggests taking out the seafood once it is cooked , and then adding the raki, reducing the sauce then adding the fish back in. I didn’t have the patience.
We had the usual debate through the late afternoon about what we might do for a meal, when the spouse mentioned that we had some squats, and I said that I liked risotto. We used Valentina Harris’s book, Risotto Risotto to give us the technical details. This is what we did.
- 1/2 an onion, finely chopped
- A lovage leaf (or a little bit of celery)
- 50g butter
- 200g arborio rice
- 1/4 bottle vinho verde (or any dry white wine)
- 500ml boiling hot vegetable stock
- 500g squats, cut in half (peeled weight)
- 25g freshly grated parmesan
- 1 tbsp finely chopped flatleaf parsley
- Salt and pepper
My rule of thumb, for a good sized portion per person I allow 75g rice and 225ml liquid. For a starter, 50g. This recipe depended on how much weight of squats we had, and we got three servings.
- Fry the onion in half the butter until soft, then stir in the risotto rice and lovage.
- If you are using celery, chop it finely and fry it with the onion.
- Stir the rice into the frying onion until it looks opaque and is hot. Then stir in the wine, then start adding the stock a little bit at a time, allowing each bit of stock to be absorbed before adding the next.
- With the last little bit of stock, add the squats. When the stock is fully soaked in, remove the risotto from the heat, and add the parsley, the rest of the butter and the parmesan, add any salt and pepper that is needed, and then cover. Leave the risotto to rest for a couple of minutes before serving.
Lots of places to pick fresh mussels around the coast. This is a great way to cook them.
- 2kg mussels, cleaned and scrubbed
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 4 shallots
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 25g butter
- 600ml white wine
- 25ml pastis such as pernod (optional)
- salt and pepper
- Put the shallots, wine, pastis, garlic, and parsley in a large pan and simmer for five minutes
- Add the butter and the mussels, turn the heat to high, and cook until the mussels are open. Shake the pan a few times to ensure that the mussels cook evenly.
- Season, and serve the mussels in soup bowls with the liquor as a sauce, and chopped parsley as a garnish.