Casa Balbino on the edge of the always bustling Plaza del Cabildo in the southwestern Spanish seaport town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, is the quintessential tapas bar. They prepare this dish in an oversize cazuela. Portions are then spooned into smaller versions of this earthenware casserole.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 large pinch saffron threads
- 3/4 cup La Ina or other fino sherry
- 1 medium tomato, cored and chopped
- 1 1/2 pounds cleaned squid, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3/4 cup Uncle Ben's converted rice, medium grain if possible, or a good-quality Italian converted rice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pounds grouper fillet, cut into medium chunks
- 3/4 pound small shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/2 cup fresh or frounceen green peas
- 1 pimiento morrone (canned Spanish roasted pepper), chopped
Heat the oil in a shallow heavy pot or cazuela over medium heat. Add the onions, green peppers, garlic, paprika, bay leaves and saffron and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.
Add the sherry and tomatoes to the vegetables and simmer briefly, stirring until well mixed. Add the squid, rice and 4 cups cold water. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Increase the heat to high, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes.
Increase the heat to medium, add the grouper, shrimp, peas and pimientos morrones, distributing them evenly in the pot and gently pushing them under the broth. Simmer, stirring several times, until the seafood is cooked through and the stew is thick and brothy, about 5 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaves and season to taste with salt and pepper.
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Recipe reprinted by permission of World Publication, LLC. All rights reserved.
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