Fish and seafood recipes

Fish and seafood cataplana. Portuguese recipe

Fish and seafood cataplana. Portuguese recipe


  • Easy
  • 45 minutes
  • For 4 people
  • 3.5 € / person
  • 265kcal per 100g.

How to prepare a fish and shellfish cataplana . Surely many, not all, you may be wondering what a cataplana is and what a rare casserole is the one seen in the photo. I would be one of you before that doubt if I had not discovered the cataplana on one occasion on a trip to the south of Portugal.

It was in the Algarve , where the cataplana is typical, where I had the opportunity to see and try a cataplana for the first time and I assure you that not only did this beautiful kitchen contraption catch my eye, but I loved everything I tried cooked in her.

Although it is typical of Portugal , specifically in the Algarve area, its origin is clearly influenced by the Arab world. They were the ones who, after the Moorish occupation in the 8th and 9th centuries, brought one of their most widely used kitchen utensils and that was the origin of the cataplana, the tagine . The artisans started from the Arab tagine , a clay dish with a cone-shaped lid, to develop the original zinc cataplanas by hand. Currently its manufacture has left this material aside and they are made of stainless steel or aluminum with a copper bath.

It is a casserole with an original spherical shape , very similar to a bivalve. It consists of two parts joined by a hinged axis in which food can be cooked, mainly fish and shellfish. It works through steam cooking, since it allows a practically hermetic closure, it is an intermediate point between a traditional casserole and our modern express pot. The type of cuisine that you get is light and healthy, by keeping your own vegetable and fish juices, which in addition to a nice casserole is practical and highly recommended. The ritual requires presenting the closed cataplana on the table and once in front of the diners, open it to ensure that the food maintains all its aromas and flavor.

Preparation of the fish and shellfish cataplana

  1. We put the cockles in a bowl with water and abundant amount of salt so that they open and eliminate the sand and impurities that they have inside. From the moment we see that they have already opened with 1 hour of cleaning it will be enough. We remove the head of the prawns and reserve both body and head.
  2. Peel and cut the onion and garlic cloves into small pieces. We wash and cut the pepper in the same way. We reserve.
  3. We heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in the cataplana, when it is ready we add the heads of the prawns that we have reserved. We fry them for a few minutes so that they release their juice and flavor the oil. We remove the heads. Add two more tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and when it is hot add the onion and the chopped garlic. We fry for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the red pepper and let the vegetables poach, stirring occasionally to avoid burning them, until they are very soft and we see that they begin to toast. Add the peeled and chopped tomato, part of the chopped parsley and cook for 3 more minutes.
  5. We pour the wine, water and salt. We do not have to add water unless we like the dish with enough sauce. The tomato juice itself and the one that will create the vegetables, once we close the cataplana, are enough to get the stew with sauce. We cook for 5 minutes with the cataplana uncovered so that the alcohol evaporates.
  6. We place the monkfish tails clean and chopped and close the cataplana. We cook the stew for 15 minutes.
  7. After this time, we open the cataplana very carefully as the cooking gases will escape and we could burn ourselves. We place the prawn tails and the cockles drained and clean and we close again. Let it cook for 5 more minutes.
  8. The stew is ready when all the cockles have opened and the prawn tails are cooked. Sprinkle with abundant chopped parsley and we already have a cataplana of fish and seafood ready to enjoy.

We serve the cataplana itself on the table, accompanied by some fried potatoes in squares or even white rice cooked with a drizzle of olive oil. In any case, we will have a very healthy and very tasty dish that I am sure you will love.

Be sure to enjoy all the recipes for fish and seafood that we have on the blog, I assure you that you will find a lot of ideas to make yours much happier.

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