SUQUET DE PEIX DE ROSES – Catalan fish stew from Roses
Today I’m in Cataluña. I’ve reached the town of Roses with it’s delightful bay. I’m here in gale-force winds to attempt to cook the celebrated Suquet de Peix.
It’s always thrilling to pedal across boarders. Today I cross the natural frontier and watershed of the Pyrenees as well as the official boarder between modern France and Spain. Many people from round here feel that history has forged an artificial rift between the Catalan lands to south and those to the north of the mountains. The southern French province of Roussillon, is often referred to as Catalogue du Nord, Northern Cataluña and some of the folk in this part of modern France see Barcelona as their Capital. Many of the traditional dishes from either side of the boarder are similar if not identical, and today’s dish of Suquet de Peix, besides the peppers is pretty much identical to the fish soups one finds along the French coast.
INGREDIENTS (for 2 or 3 people)
For the stock
500 g small rock fish for the fish stock (the bouillabaisse varieties). Head of monkfish may also used.
herbs: parsley, a bay leaf, thyme
For the soup
500 g mixed fish, fillets or cross slices, (Mediterranean varieties if possible)
a smallish onion
a smallish green pepper
4 cloves of garlic
2 medium potatoes
Spanish smoked pepper powder – Pimentón de la Vera. (Hungarian Paprika will do)
For the “picada”
3 or 4 slices of bread stick (baguette), toasted or fried in oil
2 cloves of garlic
15 skinned almonds
a pinch of saffron
a little chopped parsley
3 slices of fried bread stick per person
The first step is to make a very flavourful soup base with the heads and cheaper bony little fish that would be difficult to eat, an onion, parsley, bay and thyme and a pinch of salt. Simmer this for half an hour and strain.
Meanwhile, as is typical in Spanish cooking, some garlic is fried in olive oil until lightly golden. Then onion and chopped pepper is added and cooked until soft. Now diced tomatoes goes in, not too much, and once this has cooked a few minutes, add smallish chunks of potato which should be broken rather than cut. Add some pimentón pepper, stir it all around, then pour in the stock. The soup will only need to cook as long as it takes the potatoes to cook; say 20 minutes.
After 10 minutes the picada is stirred in. This is toasted bread, almonds, garlic, saffron and the liver of the monkfish if available, all ground up in a pestle and mortar, or a mixer, to make a paste. The mixture is moistened with a splash of the soup or even white wine to help the mixing and then this loose paste is stirred into the soup. Finally the fish goes in for seven to eight minutes.
Sprinkle the soup with a little chopped parsley. Flavour the slices of toasted bread by rubbing each lightly with a clove of garlic. Place the slices in shallow bowls, place piece of fish on top, pour the soup over and serve.
This entry was posted in Fish SPAIN