A Spanish form of operetta, but also a shellfish stew. For 4.

16 large mussels
400g tomatoes
24 palourdes (a sort of clam)
1 small red chili pepper
400g monkfish
olive oil
300g cleaned squid
flat-leafed parsley
2 langouste tails or 8 langoustines (cooked)
1/2 tsp saffron
2 onions
lemon juice
2 cloves garlic
white wine
salt & pepper

Clean mussels and clams. Cut the monkfish into chunks and slice the squid in rings. Wash langouste/langoustines. Peel and chop onions and garlic. Peel, deseed and chop the tomatoes. Chop the chili.

Put mussels and clams in a large pan and cook over a high heat, shaking occasionally, until they open; throw away those that don’t. In a frying pan, heat 10cl olive oil, add onion, garlic, tomatoes, 2 tbsp chopped parsley, salt and pepper, saffron, and chili. Cook for 15 mins, stirring from time to time.

Heat a casserole with 4 tbsp olive oil. Put in the monkfish and squid. Cook gently for 10 minutes, add 1 tbsp lemon juice. Then add the mussels, clams, langouste, and tomato sauce. Stir and cook gently, covered, for another 15 minutes. Then add 4 tbsp white wine and 2 tbsp cognac. Stir, pour into a hot dish, and serve immediately, with lots of bread.

[Steve says: if you are worried about the squid being tough, fry them quickly in a separate pan, and throw them into the zarzuela just before serving.]

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