Basque Seafood Stew

Prawn and fish stew
Sarka Babicka/Moment Open/Getty Images
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
587 Calories
19g Fat
18g Carbs
63g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 587
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 24%
Saturated Fat 3g 16%
Cholesterol 228mg 76%
Sodium 1369mg 60%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 7%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 63g
Vitamin C 60mg 302%
Calcium 193mg 15%
Iron 9mg 51%
Potassium 1547mg 33%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This is a rich and satisfying seafood stew that originates in the Basque country -- in the Pyrenees and on the Atlantic coast at the border of Spain and France. What makes this stew special is a combination of seafood, both hot and sweet paprika and a combination of herbs. Good fish stock is important to this recipe, but you could sub in chicken stock or water. We use baby octopus, striped bass, shrimp, and baby scallops in this version, but mussels, crabmeat, any type of firm fish, or really any other seafood will do -- just be sure to have a variety. 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound baby octopus

  • 1 pound firm white fish, such as sea bass

  • 1/2 pound shrimp

  • 1/2 pound bay scallops

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 2 medium onions, chopped

  • 2 stalks celery, chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 green pepper, chopped

  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon hot paprika, or Espelette pepper

  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika

  • 1 wineglass dry white wine

  • 1 quart fish stock, chicken stock, or water

  • 5 plum tomatoes, chopped and seeded

  • 6 sage leaves, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon basil, chopped

  • Salt, to taste

  • Pepper, to taste

  • Lemon juice

Steps to Make It

  1. Cut the octopi into large pieces. Slice the fish into 1- to 2-inch cubes. Peel the shrimp and wash the scallops. Toss each of them with some salt and set aside -- separately.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or large stew pot over medium-high heat for a minute or two, then add the onion and celery. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes, then add the green and red bell peppers and the baby octopus.

  3. Saute the octopus, peppers, and onion for a minute or two, then add the garlic and mix well. Cook for 1 minute, then turn the heat up to high and add the white wine.

  4. Mix well, and add both types of paprika and mix again. Let the mixture boil fiercely until half the wine is cooked away.

  5. Add the chopped sage and rosemary, then the fish stock. stir and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and let this cook for 35 to 40 minutes.

  6. Test for salt and add if needed. Test a piece of octopus: If it is tender, proceed. If not, cook a bit longer.

  7. Once the octopus is tender, add the tomatoes, the shrimp, fish, and scallops, then add half the parsley. Cook this at a simmer for 4 to 5 minutes.

  8. Add the rest of the parsley and the basil. Stir to combine and serve.

This stew really rises to the occasion with some good-quality crusty bread and a good white wine. A perfect choice would be a Spanish or California Albarino, but a verdelho, pinot grigio, dry riesling or Italian grillo would all be excellent, as would a Greek assyrtiko. If you are a beer drinker, a light Belgian ale would be nice, too