A beautiful Portuguese fish stew, Caldeirada is made using whatever fish you have to hand. Some recipes call for a 50/50 mix of oily and white fish but I think the beauty of this dish is that it allows you to use whatever fish you have available. In this recipe I use monkfish and prawns but you could also try clams, squid, swordfish, cod, hake… Whatever suits your tastes.
Green peppers are slightly more authentic in this recipe but I prefer the sweetness and more mature flavour of a developed red pepper.
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 1 large onion – halved and sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 red pepper, de-seeded and sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 large potatoes, peeled and sliced into cross-sections 1cm thick
- 6 large plum tomatoes, sliced
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- A pinch of saffron
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 large glass of white wine
- fish stock (just buy fish stock gels and dilute in hot water)
- Fish of your choice – I use 500g monkfish tail (membrane removed) and a handful of raw, kingsize prawns
- Olive oil
- Salt & Pepper
- Flat-leaf parsley.
Slowly sweat the onions, garlic, bay leaf and the peppers off in a thick bottomed pan in a decent glug of olive oil. This should take about 10 minutes. Add a layer of potatoes and then a layer of the sliced tomatoes. Repeat if you have any potatoes or tomatoes left. Add the wine, tomato puree, saffron, paprika and allow to cook down for a minute or two. Now add enough fish stock to cover the potatoes. Add a twist of salt and pepper to help it on its way, cover and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
Prepare your fish – slice into 3 cm thick chunks. Season with salt and pepper and place on top of the stew. Cover and cook for a further 10 minutes. If you’re cooking prawns they won’t take as long so add them with a few minutes of cooking time left.
Finish with chopped parsley, a final glug of olive oil on top and check the seasoning – adjust if necessary.
Serve with warm crusty bread.
Tags: Caldeirada, fish, Portuguese, stew
By John Loydall