We discovered this amazing dish over 10 years ago during a visit to Barcelona. Such a pretty city, we walked for miles, absorbing the architecture and street life. We booked a restaurant based on a recommendation from a guide book but having no appreciation for the city layout it happened to be way off the beaten path. It was definitely a place for the locals; chairs, breath taking smells of cooking and chatter spilling out into a candle lit courtyard. Completely by chance this turned into one of the most romantic meals we've ever had. I was so nervous that the 'English speaking tourists' could be treated with an air of hostility but far from it – the generosity of the welcome was only slightly surpassed by the outstanding food. I can't remember the starter and desert, just that they couldn't compare to the suquet we shared for our main course. I still don't have the words to describe it. We ate until it hurt! For years since we have hunted for a recipe. Undoubtedly impossible to recre
In a large heavy based saucepan saute the onions on a medium/low heat in olive oil until translucent and beginning to colour.
Add half of the garlic to the onions. Fry for 1 minute then add tomatoes, stock and white wine. Leave uncovered and simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally allowing the liquid to reduce.
While the sauce is cooking make the picada: Remove crusts from the bread. Cut into 1cm by 1cm cubes and fry in olive oil until brown and crispy. Leave to cool.
Grind the remaining garlic and almonds into a smooth paste using either a mortor & pestel or a food processor. Add half of the fried bread and 2 tbsp parsley and continue blending, again to form a smooth paste.
Blend the tomato sauce using a stick blender to soup-like consistency. Add paprika and potatoes and continue simmering for a further 20 minutes or until the potatoes are nearly cooked.
Cut the cod into 5cm by 5cm pieces. Score the skin and dust in cornflour. In a heavy based frying pan, fry the cod in olive oil on a high heat until brown and crispy. Cook skin side down first, turning once. Remove fish from frying pan and put to one side.
Over a low heat deglaze the frying pan with brandy. Add the sauce, picada, potatoes and prawns and cook for ~4 minutes stirring occasionally until the prawns are cooked through.
We love to share this dish eatting straight out of the frying pan. We simply place fish onto the sauce, skin side up. Sprinkle with parsley and remaining fried bread. Serve with dry white wine and crustry bread to mop up the sauce.
In order to make the picada you'll need either a mortor & pestel or a food processor AND a stick blender.
This is 'our take' on suquet. A more traditional recipes will probably include mussels and served more as a soup.
We've been a tad generous with the preparation and cooking times. I'm sure with practice and a bit more haste you can cut this down.
Ideally we wanted hake but unavailable to we substituted for cod. Another firm white fish would do nicely.
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