Sunday, 30 November 2008

There's No Place Like Home

These past two weeks have been pretty hectic. Christmas is coming up, the booze is flowing, and everyone seems to be in a partying kind of mood. I feel like I've been either drunk or hungover this past fortnight and December is going to be even more manic, what with work parties and a trip to Berlin approaching. So, this weekend I gladly took myself off to the country (well, Surrey) to see Mum and Pops.

I've never lived in their current abode save for a week last Christmas, but it still feels like home. One question asked frequently by my family cropped up again: "What shall we eat?" It didn't take long for me to request something fishy and nothing to do with pasta; as much as I love it, I seem to have existed on pasta for a week now.

This is my dad's recipe, but as I was lurking around the kitchen I managed to get a glimpse of what was going on.

Spanish Seafood Stew

For 4

4 fillets of white fish (we used tilapia)

A handful of raw tiger prawns, deveined

2 tubes of squid and tentacles, cleaned and sliced into large pieces

1 tail of monkfish, deboned and chopped into large pieces

8 scallops, roe attached

6 tomatoes, deskinned and chopped

1 large onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 head of fennel, chopped roughly

1 green chilli, sliced finely

1 Romano pepper, cut into large chunks

Pinch of saffron

1 tsp hot paprika

A glass of white wine

Large handful of curly parsley, chopped finely

In a large saucepan, fry the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and the green chilli and sweat gently. Then add the fennel and fry until it's softened, and then add the Romano pepper and the chopped tomatoes. Add the white wine, bring to the boil, and then turn it down to a simmer until all the tomatoes have broken down into a thick sauce. Add the saffron and the paprika. Add about 200mls of boiling water. Add the monkfish and keep on a low heat. Meanwhile, dredge the white fish fillets in a little seasoned flour and pan fry in some vegetable oil until cooked. Add to the serving bowls. Then fry the scallops on a high heat in a clean pan, ready to place on top of the stew. Turn the heat up on the stew and add the prawns, and then the squid. When the prawns have turned pink, take off the heat and add the parsley.

To serve, ladle the stew over the white fish fillets, and then add a couple of scallops per person on top. Serve with some fresh bread to mop up the juices.

It was a very decadent dish, what with the monkfish and scallops not being the cheapest of seafood. It was a great mixture of textures, from the slightly crunchy squid tentacles to the soft scallops. The saffron really brought out the flavour of the fish, the paprika gave it a spicy hit, and the parsley, always a great match with fish, freshened it nicely. It's surprisingly rich; we were stuffed afterwards, but not in a heavy, stodgy way. I'm wondering if I can move back home...


Anonymous said...

I've just eaten my lunch but hungry again after reading this... sounds really delicious.

Anonymous said...

I love these kinds of dishes, really hearty and warming but not so heavy that you need to sleep all afternoon.

Anonymous said...

ooooh, yeah! That looks like a lip smacker!! I love those little squid tentacles! The whole thing looks rather pretty too. Did you take that picture with a Canon powershot A720 IS? ;)

Hollow Legs said...

Yes, I'd like to steal their plates too... I did indeed Helen, I managed to get a shot before my camera was theived! ;-)

Douglas Blyde said...

Believing they were sea monsters, Sicilian fishermen used to hurl monkfish back into the sea...

Anonymous said...

Just come across your blog, this looks yummy and I'm off to the fishmongers to buy ingredients!