caldo de pescado

Galician seafood soup

A week or two ago I was looking for something simple to do with fresh local clams, and found this beautiful, very easy Galician soup. The secret seems to be the broth of sauteed and simmered shrimp shells, which gives a wonderful depth and flavor to the soup. There are all sorts of variations that could be made with this (greens? potatoes! fish of all sorts!), but it really was nice with the clams and shrimp, seasoned with sweet onions, fennel, bay and paprika. It’s a great excuse to eat fresh bread. With, say, green olive butter smeared all over it. For example.

Galician seafood soup

Caldo de Pescado (Galician seafood soup)

Adapted from Casa Moro by Sam and Sam Clark

  • 1/2 pound large shrimp, shells on
  • olive oil
  • 1 large tomato, quartered
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 pound clams or mussels
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp hot smoked paprika
  • 40 threads saffron (a large pinch), soaked in 6 Tbsp boiling water
  • 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper

Shell the shrimp and put the meat back in the fridge, reserving the shells. Heat 4 Tbsp of olive oil in a saucepan and add the shrimp shells, frying until they turn pink and begin to smell good. Add the tomato, thyme, fennel seed and water and simmer 20 minutes. Set aside (I might mash the tomato up a little at this point, for extra flavor).

In a soup pot, heat another 4 Tbsp of olive oil and add the onion. Cook on medium with a pinch of salt until the onions are soft and golden, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and bay and cook a minute more, then add the paprikas, saffron infusion, rice, and half of the parsley, then strain the reserved prawn stock into the pot. Bring to a boil and simmer 10-15 minutes, until the rice is cooked. Add the clams and cook just until they all open (discard any that refuse to open), then stir in the shrimp and the rest of the parsley. Simmer just long enough for the shrimp to cook through, and serve.

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