Seafood and Saffron Stew
Seafood is combined simply with a tomato and saffron sauce to create something absolutely delicious. Quantities are easily increased and you can really use whichever seafood you prefer, so it is wonderfully versatile and perfect for summer or winter eating. Just make sure you have some bread to hand to mop up that spectacular sauce.
- 600g mussels, shells scrubbed and beards removed
- 400g of small clams
- 200g baby squid, cut into 1cm rings
- 8 large prawns, shells on
- 8 scallops, coral/roe discarded
- 400g of plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 2 x 400g tins of good quality tomatoes
- 4 fat garlic cloves, peeled and bashed but not chopped/crushed
- 2 generous pinches of saffron, ground in a pestle and mortar
- 1 tablespoon of wild thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon of red chilli flakes (optional)
- 2 teaspoons of caster sugar
- Small packet of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
- Black pepper to taste
- Good crusty bread to serve
Soak the mussels and clams in a big bowl of cold water with lots of sea salt in it. This will trick them into believing they are in the sea and they will open and close, expelling any sand or grit out into the water. Just before use, pull the beards off the mussels and give them a gentle scrub with a brush.
Add some oil to the casserole and heat gently over a low to medium heat. Add the garlic slices and sauté for a few minutes, do not allow the garlic to burn, then add the thyme and chilli flakes and stir well.
Roughly chop the tomatoes into chunks and add them to the pan, along with the saffron, turmeric and salt and pepper and give everything a good stir. Add the tinned tomatoes and sugar, reduce the heat and cook the sauce slowly for 30-45 minutes with the lid on except for the last 10 minutes in order to reduce and concentrate the liquid and intensify the flavours. Stir the sauce a few times during cooking.
Once the sauce has reduced and concentrated, taste it to ensure the seasoning suits your preference and begin adding the seafood, starting with the mussels and clams. Give them a good stir to ensure they are well coated with sauce and cover the pan with the lid (for about 5 minutes) to allow them to steam open.
Then add the prawns and squid, stir well and allow to cook for a few minutes before adding the scallops. Give the contents of the pan one final stir, remove from heat and stir in the chopped parsley, reserving just a little for garnishing when serving.