My best friend, Barbara came into town from Germany to stay with me over the July 4th weekend, and what better way to celebrate her visit then with a post-fourth evening at home cooking up some seafood stew over white wine giggles and catch up talk. It’s a brilliantly easy but fancy one-pot meal that is perfect for entertaining on a hot summer evening. Just make sure you crank up the air conditioner!
What I love about this meal is you can cut up your veggies and potatoes ahead of time, or chop and chat as you go, all the while dumping your ingredients into one pot when it’s their time.
And one of the best parts of this seafood stew is the side dish you make of tomato bread or ”pa amb tomaquet” as its called in Catalan. It’s perfect to soak up all that delicious stew you’ll have left over once the fish and seafood is gone. It’s my favorite part of the meal. Here’s my recipe for tomato bread.
Suquet de Peix is a classic dish of Catalonia and can be made with any type of seafood or fish. The word “suquet” comes from the word “suquejar” which in Catalan means “to release juice”. Suquet de Peix doesn’t have many rules, you just use the seafood or fish that appeals to you the most or that you may have in the fridge. I wanted to make it with shrimps, scallops and clams, but I also threw in some frozen cod I wanted to use up from last week. It all works together beautifully!
We can thank old-school Catalan fishermen for this dish, who after a long day of fishing, would make a very simple stew from whatever they had left over from the fish market. I love its simple, unpretentious roots.
That’s Barb on the left and me on the right!
An easy but fancy summer seafood stew that's great for entertaining!
- Sofrito (Base of the stew):
- 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Spanish onion - minced
- 1 tomato - finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper - finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic - minced
- 1 very generous pinch of saffron (crumble between your fingers before adding)
- 2 teaspoons of pimenton (smoked Spanish paprika)
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 1/2 cup of white wine
- 1 bay leaf
- salt and pepper to taste
- Main Ingredients:
- 1 cod steak - chopped
- 8 large shrimp
- 2 handfuls of small scallops
- 6 clams
- 4 or 5 cups of seafood or fish stock (or enough to cover your ingredients when cooking)
- Approx. 2 lbs of small yukon potatoes (or about 15-20 small yukon potatoes sliced in half)
- In a large thick-bottom pot or dutch oven, heat the oil. The when the oil has warmed, add the garlic, onion, tomato and red pepper. Cook over medium heat for about 10 - 15 minutes, stirring frequently until vegetables soften.
- Add the tomato paste and mix thoroughly, then add the pimenton, saffron, wine, salt, pepper and stir. Let cook for another 5 minutes.
- Add chopped potatoes and cover potatoes with the seafood or fish stock on medium flame for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes have mostly cooked through. Add fish and seafood and cook for another 3-5 minutes until seafood is cooked though and clams have opened. If a clam does not open, just throw it out. Do not attempt to eat it.
- Turn off the heat and serve in bowls. Sprinkle top of dish with parsley if you have any. I didn't, so I skipped it.
- Serve with some delicious tomato bread and white wine.
A very authentic way to make this stew is to make a base of what the Catalans call a "picada" instead of the sofrito I use in my recipe. If you'd like to try it that way, here's a recipe for classic picada: