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Caldeirada - Portuguese Fish Stew

What's the big idea?

Fish and seafood are central to Portuguese cuisine, and have been for centuries. Caldeirada is something of a Portuguese national dish, although as you would expect there are so many regional and seasonal variations that it's hard to define exactly what the recipe is. So below you will find a recipe for Caldeirada - feel free to adapt and change as you see fit.

It is interesting to compare this dish with the Spanish Catalan Fish Stew, which is also one of our favourites and always on the menu in our house if Barcelona are playing.

Shopping List

Here's the list of what you need:

  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 large green pepper, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 12oz potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 3 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tomato purée
  • 10fl oz dry white wine
  • 8oz squid, cleaned
  • 20-24 clams, mussels or cockles, or an assortment, prepared
  • 1lb oily fish, such as mackerel, swordfish or tuna - whatever is available and affordable
  • 1lb white fish, such as sea bass, monkfish, hake or haddock - whatever is available and affordable
  • 6oz large raw prawns, cleaned
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped

What To Do

  • In a large flame-proof casserole, heat the oil and gently fry the onion, garlic and green pepper for about 10 minutes
  • Add the parsley, potatoes, bay leaves, peppercorns, tomatoes, tomato purée, wine and about 5fl oz of water. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes
  • Add the squid and clams or cockles and simmer for another ten minutes
  • Cut the fish into large chunks. Add the fish, prawns and mussels (if using) to the pot in layers. Try to stir as little as possible from this point onwards
  • Season well with black pepper, cover and simmer for about ten minutes or until the fish is cooked through and the mussels etc are open. Discard any that don't open
  • Ladle the stew gently into bowls and sprinkle with chopped coriander

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