Spanish Romesco Seafood Stew is Spain’s version of the French bouillabaisse and Italy’s cioppino. Spicy chorizo sausages, shrimp, scallops and mussels are swimming in a rich, lightly spicy sauce. Each serving is topped with broiled Pacific cod.
The sauce is extraordinarily delicious because the flavors from the seafood infuse throughout the dish. It is an extra layer of flavor that makes this dinner spectacular.
Serve this stew with a chunk of sourdough bread so everyone can mop up the sauce at the bottom of their bowl. Otherwise, you might be tempted to stick your face in the bowl and lick it clean. It’s that good!
If you don’t want to take the time to make sourdough bread then grab some at the bakery. Or, in just 2 hours you could bake up a delicious no-knead Dutch oven bread.
This seafood stew is inspired by a version of Zarzuela de Mariscos from the Catalonian region of Spain.
In Spanish, Zarzuela is an exciting form of theater with a variety of singing, dancing, and instrumental music. Mariscos means seafood in Spanish.
What you need.
The ingredient list looks long but you can break things down and make part of the stew a day or two in advance. As a matter of fact, the flavors will have time to develop even more if you make the Romesco sauce ahead of time.
For the Romesco Sauce
- Bell pepper
- Garlic and onion
- Olive oil
- Ancho chilies (or substitute another mild dried chili pepper like guajillo)
- A slice of bread
- Lemon juice
For the stew and broth
- Olive oil
- Chorizo Spanish uncooked sausage
- Celery, onion, and garlic
- White wine
- Chicken broth or seafood broth
- Bay leaf
For the seafood
- Sea scallops
How to make this Spanish seafood stew.
Here are the tips and tricks for this recipe but make sure to scroll down to the printable recipe card for all the details.
You can make this sauce a day or two in advance then store it in the fridge. The ingredient list looks long but the process is really quite simple.
- Roast the vegetables in the oven and soak the dried chilies in water.
- Scrape the seeds out of the rehydrated chilies and blitz the chilies in a blender or food processor. Strain the solids out and save the puree.
- Brown/toast the almonds and bread in a skillet and set aside to cool.
- Remove the skins from the roasted tomatoes and peppers. (hint, leave some of the charred part of the skins to add depth of flavor).
- Puree all the roasted veggies along with the rest of the ingredients for the Romesco sauce.
For the stew:
Be sure to use uncooked Spanish chorizo sausage and not Mexican chorizo as the flavor profile is much different. If you are unable to find Spanish chorizo the best substitute would be Portuguese linguica. Portuguese linguica has similar spices as Spanish chorizo but includes spicy chilies.
- Brown the chorizo sausage in a skillet then set it aside. When cool enough to handle, cut into diagonal slices.
- Sauté the onion, celery, and garlic until soft.
- Add the wine and deglaze the skillet.
- Stir in the chicken broth, bay leaf, chorizo sausage, and the Romesco sauce. Simmer to bring out all the flavors.
For the seafood:
- Broil the cod until it is flaky and tender.
- Bring the stew to a boil then reduce the heat and add the shellfish.
- After 3 to 4 minutes the shellfish will be finished.
- Scoop the seafood stew into bowls then top with a piece of cod.
- Serve with bread and a side salad.
Helpful tips and tricks.
There are several steps to this recipe but it doesn’t have to keep you in the kitchen all day. If you plan ahead then you can turn this dinner into a very quick prep on the day you serve it.
It only takes a few minutes to cook the seafood so if you have everything ready then you can finish this stew in under 15 minutes.
- Make the Romesco sauce up to a week in advance. You can even freeze it for 4 to 6 months.
- Make a double batch of Romesco sauce so you have extra for some quick dinners like this linguini with Spanish chorizo or these scallops with Romesco.
- Make the broth/stew portion in advance. Like the Romesco sauce, you can make it up to a week in advance or longer if you freeze it.
- Use good olive oil. There is a generous portion of olive oil in this recipe but it adds a tremendous flavor to the dish. Don’t cut back on it in an effort to save calories, it is an integral part of the dish.
- Wait to purchase the seafood until the day you make this stew. Especially the mussels. Otherwise, if you want to use frozen seafood, thaw it in the fridge overnight.
- Discard any mussels that do not open up after you cook them.
SOME OTHER RECIPES WE ARE SURE YOU WILL LOVE:
Chicken cacciatore is an easy, delicious dinner that is perfect for weeknights but it also makes a great dinner for guests. Serve it with some pasta to sop up the juices.
This creamy shrimp bisque is the ultimate way to enjoy shrimp. We finished it off with a drizzle of truffle oil for an elegant touch.
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- 1 red bell pepper, halved, seeded and membrane removed
- 3 medium tomatoes
- 1 garlic head, halved, paper outer skin removed
- 1 medium onion
- 1/4 cup olive oil (divided)
- 2 dried Ancho chilies
- 1/4 cup Marcona almonds or regular almonds
- 1 ounce (about 1/4 slice) white bread, crust removed
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
For the stew:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 pound fresh Spanish chorizo sausage links
- 2 (8-inch) celery stalks, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, grated or minced
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups chicken or seafood broth
- 1 bay leaf
Fish and Shellfish:
- 1 pound medium or large shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 1/2 pound sea scallop, halved
- 24 mussels, scrubbed and debearded
- 1 pound Pacific Cod, cut into 6 portions
For the Romesco Sauce:
- Preheat the oven to 400°F
- Add the peppers, tomatoes, garlic and onion to a baking sheet. Brush the vegetables with 2 tablespoons of the oil and roast until they are soft and slightly charred, about 25-30 minutes. When roasted, transfer from the oven.
- While the vegetables are roasting, place the dried chiles in a bowl and cover with hot water. Soak the chilies for 15-20 minutes until they are rehydrated. Remove the chilies from the water and blot with a paper towel. Place on a cutting board and open the chilies, scrape and discard the seeds. Puree the chilies in a mini-food processor or a blender. Add the puree to a small mesh sieve set over a dish and press with the back of a spoon, set the puree aside and discard the solids.
- Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to a small skillet set over low heat. Add the almonds and stir to brown, about 1 minute. Transfer the almonds to a small paper towel-lined plate. Add the bread to the skillet and brown it lightly on both sides, then transfer to the plate with the almonds.
- When the roasted vegetables are cool enough to handle, peel the pepper and tomatoes. Break the garlic apart and squeeze out the soft cloves.
- Add the roasted vegetables to a food processor or blender along with the chili puree, almonds, bread, lemon juice, paprika, salt, and the remaining olive oil. Process until it forms a thick sauce.
- Transfer the sauce into a bowl or jar and reserve.
- Set a large skillet over medium-high and add the olive oil, tilting to cover the bottom of the skillet. Add the chorizo sausage links and sear to a rich brown, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer the links to a paper towel-lined plate and when cool enough to handle, slice in 1-inch diagonal slices. Reserve.
- Reduce the heat to medium, add the celery, onion and garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes until slightly soft.
- Pour the wine into the skillet, stirring to deglaze the pan and cook for 1 minute to burn off the alcohol.
- Add the chicken broth, bay leaf, and the sliced chorizo sausage. Stir in the reserved romesco sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Broil the cod.
- Preheat the Broiler for 5 minutes and raise the oven shelf to 6-inches below the broiler unit. Set a wire rack over a foil-lined baking sheet.
- Pat the cod dry with paper towels and place on the wire rack. Brush each portion with olive oil, season with salt/pepper and dust lightly with smoked paprika.
- Broil for 5-6 minutes until just beginning to flake. Remove from the oven and set aside.
While the Cod is Broiling:
- Increase the heat under the romesco sauce and bring to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to low again. Add the shrimp, scallops and mussels to the hot sauce, cover and cook the seafood for 3-4 minutes until the shrimp are curled into a ‘C’ shape, the scallops are opaque and the mussels have opened.
- Remove from the heat and scoop into shallow bowls; add a portion of cod to each portion, garnish with chopped parsley and serve with warm garlic bread.
- Make a double batch of this sauce and refrigerate it. Romesco sauce will keep in the refrigerator for 1 week. Also, it can be portioned into lidded containers for the freezer and will keep for 2 months.
- The Spanish cuisine would most likely use the Nora pepper in this seafood stew. Any mild dried chili will work as a substitute such as an Ancho, Pasilla or Guajillo.
- Try leaving some of the charred skin on the peppers as it adds flavor to the sauce.
- Substitute regular un-toasted or raw slivered almonds for the Marcona almonds.
- Be sure to use uncooked Spanish chorizo sausage and not Mexican chorizo as the flavor profile is much different.
- Clams can be substituted for mussels
- I used Pacific cod but any white fish or even salmon can be substituted.
If you are unable to find Spanish chorizo the best substitute would be Portuguese linguica. Portuguese linguica has similar spices as Spanish chorizo but includes spicy chilies.