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Prawn and paprika fish stew with tomato rice

This is my version, adapted from a Gourmet Traveller article found on the net. I made it last night & LOVED it!

I used scallops as well – which is not ideal. With the fish mix, remember that the history of fish soups/stews is that the fishermen used whatever fish couldn’t be sold (too small, unfashionable etc.), so make your own mix of reasonably priced fish. I’m tempted to add green beans to the fish stew, but it’s up to you!

Langostinos al all-i-pebre
6 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
1/3 cup olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
Pinch of cayenne
1 teaspoon smoked hot Spanish paprika (in little tins in the supermarket)2 dried bay leaves
6 ripe, large tomatoes, chopped
1 red capsicum
5 cups fish or vege stock
1 slice woodfired or rustic-style bread, crusts removed
60g pinenuts, roasted (or substitute whatever nuts you have – I used a mix with pistachios)
½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
Large pinch of saffron strands, soaked in ¼ cup warm water for 10 minutes
400g (2 cups) Calasparra (paella rice) or arborio rice
800g soild white fish fillets, skinned, pin-boned and cut into 3-4cm pieces
(that said I used a mix of a whole small snapper – the head & bones became my fish stock & trim from a huge tuna fillet)
24 large green prawns, peeled and cleaned, leaving tails intact
Method
Garlic Oil: Cut a slit through skin into each garlic clove. Place in a small saucepan with olive oil and cook, stirring frequently over low-medium heat for 10 minutes or until golden.
Stew part 1: Pour half the garlic oil into a heavy-based saucepan & heat, keep the rest of the oil & cloves separately, add onion, sliced capsicum, cayenne, paprika and 1 teaspoon salt and cook for 5 minutes, then add bay leaves and half the tomatoes and cook, covered, for another 8 minutes or until tomatoes are pulpy. Add 2 cups fish stock, bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes, then set aside.
Rice: Chop 1/2 the garlic from the garlic oil and set aside. Heat remaining garlic olive oil in flameproof casserole, add saffron mixture, reserved chopped garlic and remaining tomato and cook for 5-7 minutes. Stir in rice, add remaining fish stock and 1 teaspoon salt and bring to the boil, cover and cook on a low heat 20-25 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and stand, covered for 5 minutes.
Garnish: Meanwhile, brush bread with a little garlic olive oil and toast on both sides under a hot grill until golden. Cool, then break into pieces. Peel reserved garlic and combine half with bread, pinenuts and parsley and process in a food processor until coarsely chopped.
Stew part 2: Five minutes before rice is ready, bring tomato mixture to a simmer, stir in fish and cook for one minute, add prawns, cover and cook for another 3-5 minutes or until seafood is just tender.
Serve: tomato rice divided among bowls, spoon over fish stew and scatter with nut mixture. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Note: For fish stock; heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan, add 1 chopped carrot, 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped leek and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, add any fish bones or prawn shell water to cover & 125ml white wine (if you have & feel like putting in your food) and bring to a simmer, then add 2 litres water, bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Strain through a muslin-lined sieve. Makes about 1.8 litres.
I watched Heston Blumenthal recently & he recommends clarifying a stock by freezing it & then letting it defrost into a muslin lined sieve – if you have the time & the frozen stock it could be worth trying! Also Noilly Prat or other vermouth is a traditional thing to put in a fish stock and might be more appropriate for the wine component than your best riesling!

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