Zarzuelo De Mariscos (Spicy Shellfish Stews)

Course : Fish
Serves: 6
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1/4 cup pure Spanish olive oil
3 cloves garlic -- finely
1 medium onion -- finely chopped
1 medium green bell pepper -- seeded finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped smoked ham
1 cup drained and chopped canned -- whole tomatoes
1 piece bay leaf
1/4 cup drained pimientos -- finely
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pound swordfish steak -- skinned cut into chunks
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups fish stock -- clam juice
2 Cup water
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon powdered saffron or 3 to 4 -- saffron threads, crushed
12 medium mussels -- scrubbed under running water -- debearded

Preparation / Directions:

Soak mussels 10 minutes in lightly salted water to cover by several inches (if mussels disgorge considerable sand, repeat the soaking process); 12 clams scrubbed under cold, running water and soaked 30 minutes in lightly salted water to cover by several inches (if clams disgorge considerable sand, repeat the soaking process); optional 3 raw lobster tails, shelled and cut into thirds 12 large raw shrimp, shelled and deveined, with the tails left on 12 raw sea scallops, cut in half; or 24 bay scallops 1/2 pound fresh lump crabmeat, picked over for cartilage 3 tablespoons finely minced fresh parsley Lime or lemon wedges for garnish In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the oil until fragrant over low heat, then add the garlic, onion, bell pepper, and ham, and cook, stirring, for several minutes, until the onion is tender. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, pimientos, and oregano, and cook until the mixture has thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. (Can be made ahead up to this point and refrigerated. Reheat to continue with the recipe.) Add the swordfish, sherry, wine, stock, salt, and saffron, stir to blend, and bring to a boil, uncovered, over high heat. Add the mussels and clams, reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook 6 to 8 minutes. Then add the lobster, shrimp, scallops, and crabmeat, and cook, covered, 5 minutes. Remove and discard any mussels or clams that do not open, correct the seasonings, transfer the stew to a serving bowl, and serve hot, garnished with minced parsley and lime wedges and accompanied by Arroz Amarillo

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