This week we're swapping Food Friday for Fish Friday, thanks to tapas restaurant Gambas. Their superb Spanish style food has just earned the team a Michelin Plate, a distinction that recognises particularly good cooking. 

They've shared this recipe for Zarzuela, a traditional dish eaten in areas of Mediterranean Spain such as Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearic Islands. It's the Spanish version of a ‘Bouillabaisse’.

The recipe is versatile. You can change the mussels or clams for more of the other; monkfish or cod can be used instead of hake; langoustines or tiger prawns can be used instead of wild Atlantic prawns. It's completely your choice. You could make it gluten-free too. 

Zarzuela seafood stew by Gambas

Zarzuela (seafood stew) with hake, mussels, clams and prawns

Recipe feeds 4 people. A large pot or pan is needed. Traditionally it's served in a casserole pot or terracotta pot.


1.5L fish stock
300g hake or monkfish (or half of each)
300g mussels
300g clams
4 tiger prawns L2 in size (one per person)
200g squid
1 white onion
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
2 tomatoes
1 tbsp nora paste (not essential, or use tomato paste)
150ml white wine
300ml Extra virgin olive oil
50g Plain flour (just for coating)
1g Saffron
¼ bunch Parsley
40g almonds
2 cloves of garlic
3 bread slices
1 tsp pimenton spicy or sweet


  1. Let’s start by cooking the mussels and the clams. Make sure they are clean (remove the beard of the mussels and soak clams in cold water with salt for about 20 minutes to remove the sand).
  2. Place the mussels in a saucepan with a little bit of water (150ml) and a splash of white wine. Cover it and cook until they are just open, approximately 2-3 minutes. Do not overcook them! Take the mussels out and keep the liquid for later. Do the same thing with clams and keep the liquid too.
  3. Toast the almonds on 160c in the oven for approximately 8 minutes or until golden brown. Leave to the side.
  4. In a frying pan, add a little bit of olive oil and cook the prawns on a high heat for about 20 seconds each side, remove from pan and keep.
  5. In the same pan fry the slices of bread until they are golden on both sides, remove from pan and keep.
  6. Flour the fish in big pieces (approximately 2x2cm dices) making sure you take out the excess of flour by shaking it in your hands or a sieve and in the same pan add a little bit more oil and cook it until it’s golden on the outside constantly turning, do not overcook it (we will finish it in the sauce/stock). If you want to make this recipe gluten-free just avoid this step and cook the fish straight in the stock (and do not fry the bread slices either).
  7. In the same pan we are going to cook the “sofrito” now, which will be the base of our stew.  Dice the onion, red pepper and green pepper and cook it in the pan with olive oil and a pinch of salt until soft and a little bit golden.
  8. A few minutes before you finish the veggies, add the squid cut into rings (leave it whole if it’s baby squid), cook for 2 minutes more.
  9. Add the grated tomatoes, saffron, pimenton, nora paste and cook a few more minutes until there is not much water left from the tomatoes. Add white wine and once the mix is reduced a little (about 3 or 4 minutes) add the liquid of the mussels and the clams and cook it on low heat for about 5 more minutes, reducing it a little bit further.
  10. Once reduced place all the seafood ingredients previously cooked (mussels, clams, fish, prawns) into the pot and cook for another 5 minutes. Season it with salt to your palate. Take it off the heat.
  11. Meanwhile, grab a pestle and mortar (or pulse setting on the blender) and mix together parsley, fried bread, almonds and garlic. That’s what in Spain they call “picada” and it will thicken the sauce of the stew. Add this to the stew and cook for a couple more minutes to integrate the picada.
  12. Serve it with chopped fresh parsley on top.

More #FoodFriday recipes to try at home: