Spanish Mixed Seafood Stew/Soup (Zarzuela)

Zarzuela is a seafood stew/soup that is eaten on the coast of Spain and is middle ground between a classical french fish soup and a bouillabaise. The spanish love dipping fresh bread aromatized with garlic into this soup, so make sure the sauce is nice and thick with a harmonious balance between acidity and sweetness. Make your experience of cooking food from a different culture more autherntic by imagining the locals you are offering it too!

Average: 3.8 (4 votes)


4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium to large onion
3 cloves garlic
1 green bell pepper
2 oz prosciutto
1/3 cup toasted almonds
12 mussels
8 oz sea scallops
8 oz squid
12 oz shelled shrimp
two 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes
two 8-ounce bottles clam juice or homemade seafood stock
1/2 tsp. saffron threads
3 bay leaves
8 sprigs parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  • Peel the onion and cut into quarters (or sixths, if large)
  • Peel the garlic and finely chop in slices
  • Cut the top off the bell pepper. Stand it upright and cut down inside the four walls, separating them from the center core and seeds. Then cut the walls into thin strips.
  • Coarsely chop the prosciutto and almonds.
  • Rinse the mussels under cool running water and pull out the beards (the threads that protrude from the seams).
  • Remove the rubbery hinges from the sides of the scallops and halve the scallops if large.
  • Clean the squid and cut crosswise into rings about 1/2 inch wide.

1. Put the oil in a 12-inch large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and raise the heat to high.

2. Once the onion begin to get some colour add the peppers and stir. 

3. Let the peppers begin to cook and add the prosciutto and almonds.

4. Open the can of tomatoes and bottles of clam juice. Add them, and the saffron and bay leaves to the saute pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.

5. Add the mussels. Stir, cover and cook for 2 minutes. 

6. Add the shrimp to the pan, stir, cover, and cook for 2 minutes.

7. Add the scallops and squid, stir, cover, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until all the seafood is cooked, make sure you do not over cook the suid and scallops, they become chewy!

*The mussels should have opened and the shrimp, scallops, and squid should be just firm. Discard any mussels that do not open.

8. While the seafood cooks, chop the parsley leaves. Taste the zarzuela for salt and pepper. Discard the bay leaves. Ladle the stew into large soup plates and sprinkle with parsley.

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