Romesco Seafood Stew

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 15 min
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Cook: 45 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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Romesco Sauce: 

2 dried pasilla or red New Mexico chile peppers or 1 ancho chile pepper, stemmed and seeded

Water or chicken stock, to cover

1/4 cup dry Marcona almonds, toasted

1/4 cup blanched hazelnuts, toasted

1 tablespoon sweet or smoked sweet paprika

4 roasted piquillo peppers packed in water, drained well

2 slices (3/4-to-1-inch thick) stale good-quality white bread, diced

2 cloves garlic, grated or made into a paste

1 large or 2 medium very ripe tomatoes, grated on a box grater

Splash of sherry vinegar (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1/3 cup EVOO


1/4 cup EVOO, plus more for drizzling

1 1/2 pounds small white or yellow potatoes, chopped or quartered

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 small stalks celery, finely chopped

1 large fresh bay leaf

1 onion, finely chopped

1 small bundle fresh parsley, tied with kitchen string

1 cup dry white wine

2 cups chicken or seafood stock


24 small mussels or clams, scrubbed

12 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

EVOO, for drizzling

4 slices Serrano ham

4 thick center-cut pieces cod or other sustainable white fish

Sliced crusty bread, for serving

Gremolata, recipe follows

1 clove garlic, halved


1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves

2 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves stripped and chopped

1 anchovy fillet or anchovy in hot pepper

1 clove garlic, grated

Zest of 1 lemon


  1. For the romesco sauce: Toast the chile peppers in a small pot over medium heat, pressing them flat with a metal spatula and turning occasionally. Add enough water or stock to cover and simmer until the chiles are tender. Transfer the chiles to a food processor with a splash of the cooking liquid. Add the almonds, hazelnuts, paprika, piquillos, bread, garlic, tomato, vinegar and some salt and pepper. Turn the processor on and add the EVOO in a slow, steady stream until a thick, almost smooth sauce forms. 
  2. For the stew: Heat the EVOO in a pot over medium to medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook until lightly browned, then add the celery, bay leaf, onions and parsley bundle and cook for 5 minutes. Deglaze with the wine, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Stir in the stock and romesco sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are just tender. 
  3. For the seafood: Add the mussels and shrimp to the stew and cook, covered, until the mussels open and the shrimp are firm and opaque. Discard any unopened shells. 
  4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 
  5. Heat a drizzle of EVOO in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Wrap the ham around the fish fillets, then add to the skillet and cook until crisp on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until the fish is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the fish rest in the skillet. Meanwhile, char the bread in the oven. Divide the stew among shallow bowls. Place a piece of fish in the center and top with a spoonful of Gremolata. Rub the charred bread with the cut sides of the garlic clove and drizzle with EVOO; serve on the side. 


  1. Pile the parsley, thyme, anchovy, garlic and lemon zest on a cutting board and roughly chop together until well combined.

Cook’s Note

You can make extra romesco sauce and freeze it. Use it as a base for soup or for topping any grilled or roasted meat or seafood. The stew, without the seafood, can be covered and refrigerated for a make-ahead meal.

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