During the Lenten season, many Spaniards avoid meat -- especially on Fridays. That means that Easter foods in Spain are fish-focused, including delicious treats like salt-cod croquettes, garlic prawns, and tender, fried calamari rings.
Many Lenten dishes in Spain include salt cod, which is cod fish that is salted and dried as a means of preserving the fish. To cook salt cod, you need to reconstitute it first by soaking it in water for about 24 to 48 hours, changing the water at least three times. Salt cod is delicious, but it is expensive and time-consuming to prepare.
Traditionally, it is prepared with salt cod, but fresh shrimp is substituted for this recipe. The results are just as delicious, and this meatless Spanish meal is a quick way to get dinner on the table.
- 4 tablespoons Spanish extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cans (about 30 ounces) of small white beans, fully drained and rinsed
- 15 ounces of baby spinach, washed well and roughly chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 sweet onions, diced
- 2 red bell peppers, diced
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 2 large potatoes, diced into 1-inch cubes
- 2 large tomatoes, roughly diced
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon of smoked, sweet Spanish paprika
- 1 teaspoon of cumin
- 1 pound of raw shrimp (buy shelled shrimp, or buy shells on for a deeper flavor)
Gather the ingredients.
Heat two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a heavy stockpot over a medium high heat.
When hot (but not smoking) add the diced onions and sauté for a few minutes until the onions are translucent.
Add the diced peppers and sauté for two more minutes.
Then, add the minced garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds, until fragrant.
Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, carrots, and potatoes, and sauté for about two minutes, until the tomatoes start to break down.
Add the vegetable stock and spices, and bring to a boil. Lower the stew to a simmer, and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
In a separate, large frying pan, heat two tablespoons of olive oil over a medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, and sauté to sear the shrimp on each side. Once browned on both sides, add in the white beans, a generous pinch of salt and sauté for about a minute. Then, add in the spinach and mix everything together until the spinach starts to wilt.
Turn off the heat and add the contents of this frying pan to the simmering pot.
Stir everything together and cook on low for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper as needed and serve with hearty bread.