Thursday, 13 November 2014

Mackerel stew

In humid autumn days, which fortunately doesn't happen here very often, I fancy warming, one-pot meals that help me forget for a few hours about this unbearable, damp chill. The whole process of preparation the meal fills the kitchen with warmth and aroma of frying garlic and lightly toasted smoked paprika that stimulate the senses, warm my body and give me energy. One of this kind of dishes is popular in Catalonia and Valencia suquet - fish stew with aromatic sauce and vegetables. Was invented by fishermen who were trying to made the most of unsold fish or seafood while preparing their everyday meals. Traditional suquet, apart from fish or seafood, also includes potatoes, tomatoes and smoked paprika, which give the dish a characteristic red colour. The basis of this fish stew is rich in flavor fish broth prepared from fish heads and bones. Fish, which I added to today's stew is mackerel, which intense flavor harmonizes perfectly with very simple, but incredibly aromatic sauce of tomatoes and paprika.

Ingredients (serves 2):

1 fresh mackerel
2 potatoes
1 small sweet potato
300 g grated tomatoes
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon flour
200 ml fish broth
half a cup of frozen peas (optional)
sprig of parsley
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil

alioli sauce:
1 garlic clove
a pinch of coarse sea salt
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil


Cut the head and the tail off the mackerel. Cut along the belly and remove the insides using your hands or a spoon. Rinse under cold water to remove any blood. Cut the mackerel into 3-4 equal pieces.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on a frying pan. Add chopped garlic and fry for a few minutes. In the meantime, peel the potatoes and the sweet potato. Cut them into cubes and add into the pan, season with salt and mix. Add finely chopped parsley and the fish stock. Simmer for about 15 minutes. On a separate pan heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the paprika and the flour, fry for a few seconds, being careful not to burn them and then add the tomatoes. Fry until the water from tomatoes evaporates. Transfer the sauce to the potatoes with stock, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add the pieces of mackerel and peas (optional), cover and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and the fish is opaque and flakes easily away from the backbone. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve with a bit of alioli sauce.

the alioli sauce:

Put chopped or crushed garlic into a mortar. Add salt and mix well until combine. Then, add the olive oil in a thin stream, stirring continuously. The mixture should thicken as you continue to stir it. It should be slightly thinner than commercial mayonnaise.

 Enjoy !!!

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