Spanish-Style Steamed Shellfish

Spanish-Style Steamed Shellfish

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Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Servings: 6
Ingredients traditionally used in Spanish seafood stews are brought together here. Spanish chorizo and saffron flavor the broth, and a classic red pepper-based romesco sauce provides a tangy accent.


For the romesco sauce:

  • 1/2 cup whole almonds
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 slice French bread, torn into pieces
  • 2 ripe plum tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 cup chopped roasted red bell pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. mild smoked paprika
  • 2 Tbs. sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup fruity extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt, to taste

  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 lb. tender green beans
  • 9 small new potatoes, halved
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lb. Spanish chorizo, sliced
  • 1 tsp. saffron threads
  • 1 leek, with tender green tops, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 orange zest strip, 3 inches long by 1 inch wide
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 frozen lobster tails, each 1/2 lb., thawed and
      halved lengthwise
  • 12 large shrimp in the shell
  • 18 mussels, green-lipped if available, scrubbed
      and debearded
  • 24 Manila clams, scrubbed
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish


To make the romesco sauce, preheat an oven to 450°F. Arrange the nuts, garlic, bread, tomatoes, bell pepper and paprika in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until the edges of the tomatoes and the bread start to brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and pulse to coarsely chop. Slowly add the vinegar and olive oil and process until mixed but not completely smooth. Season with salt. (The sauce can be prepared up to 1 day in advance. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.)

Bring a saucepan three-fourths full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the green beans and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, refresh with running cold water and set aside. In another saucepan, cook the potatoes and carrots in the same way until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the chorizo and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chorizo to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour off all but 3 Tbs. of the fat from the pot. Return the pot to medium heat, add the saffron, leek, fennel and garlic and sauté for 3 minutes. Stir in the orange zest, broth and wine and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until reduced by one-third, about 15 minutes.

Place the lobster tail halves in the pot, cover and cook until the shells are bright red and the meat is almost cooked through, about 8 minutes. Uncover and layer the following ingredients in order: shrimp, mussels, clams, potatoes, carrots, green beans and chorizo, discarding any mussels or clams that do not close to the touch. Season with salt and pepper, cover, and cook until the mussels and clams have opened and the vegetables are heated through, 5 to 7 minutes.

To serve, remove the lobster meat from the shells and place a half tail in the center of each warmed shallow bowl. Arrange the potatoes, carrots, green beans, chorizo, mussels, shrimp and clams in equal portions around the lobster meat, discarding any shellfish that failed to open. Ladle some of the cooking liquid over each serving and top with a spoonful of the romesco sauce and a little parsley. Serve immediately. Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Entertaining, by George Dolese (Oxmoor House, 2004).
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