Simply delicious! It just so happened, that we started making our vacation plans to visit Portugal the same day we made this dish. The power of suggestion…
Cataplana is both the name of the dish and the pot that it is cooked in. There are two types of cataplana: either seafood packed with both fish and seafood, or a pork and clam version, which this one is. It uses abundant fresh seafood, smoky cured meat, and vibrant paprika in a rich, ruddy broth. In lieu of a traditional copper cataplana pot, we cooked ours in a Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid to mimic the steamy cooking environment.
The strips of fresh fennel and red bell pepper, enliven the dish with a crisp‑tenderness that contrasts with the juicy chew of the sausage and the meaty clams. Since I don’t eat clams and The Hubs does, we substituted a bit more shrimp and fewer clams, but kept the ratios the same.
To accompany the stew and help mop up all of those luscious juices, we made some tasty toasted garlic baguette slices topped with grated parmesan and a hint of smoked paprika—the perfect companion! We made it again a few weeks later for a small party we hosted…
Portugal's Simple Seafood Stew (Cataplana)
- 12 oz. extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 per lb.), peeled, deveined, and cut in half crosswise
- ¾ tsp. table salt, divided
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 12 oz. linguica sausage, quartered lengthwise and sliced ¼ inch thick
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ¾ tsp. smoked paprika
- ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 large onion, halved and sliced thin
- 1 fennel bulb, stalks discarded, bulb halved, cored, and sliced thin lengthwise
- 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch-wide strips
- 1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and chopped coarse
- 1 8-oz. bottle clam juice
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 3 lbs. littleneck or Manila clams, scrubbed
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- Lemon wedges
- Combine shrimp and ¼ teaspoon salt in bowl; refrigerate until needed. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add linguica and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and fat is slightly rendered, about 4 minutes.
- Stir in garlic, paprika, and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add onion, fennel, bell pepper, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Stir in tomatoes, clam juice, and wine. Bring to simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.
- Increase heat to high and bring mixture to boil. Stir in clams; cover and cook until clams have opened, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking.
- Off heat, stir in shrimp. Cover and let stand off heat until shrimp are opaque and just cooked through, about 5 minutes.
- Discard any unopened clams. Stir in parsley; season with salt to taste; transfer to serving bowl if desired; and serve, passing lemon wedges separately.
Recipe by Steve Dunn for Cook’s Illustrated