Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Catalan Fish Stew with Pimenton Mayonnaise

It seems like I blinked, and the first two months of 2011 are over and gone.  What has happened in january and February?  I got a haircut. I found out I owe $1,800 in taxes.  The family went to Las Vegas for another boxing match - Donaire vs Montiel fight (Donaire won!).  We stayed at the Mandalay Bay where Sophia and I got complimentary tickets to watch The Lion King .  We stayed for the entire show and totally enjoyed it, Hoo-ray!  Well just that Sophia asked "what happened" about a hundred times during the show.  What else?   I can't recall much.  Time flies.

So March is here and in three weeks daughter and I will be going to the Philippines.  I am excited and nervous at the same time. DH will not be going with us and I miss him already.  Then I am stressed out on what to bring home - I have not even started shopping.  I have not been in the mood to go shopping, I guess because money is tight these days which is the reason DH is not going with us.  I am excited for the trip as Sophia will finally meet my parents.  On the other hand, I feel bad that the growing closeness between her and her Dad is going to be interrupted.  And I have so many other worries... Will she cry and look for her dad?  Can I handle her on my own?  What will my husband do while we are away?  What if she gets sick in the Philippines?  How is she going to handle the long flight?  I don't want to worry about all that... at least not right now.

Well I don't really know how to present this dish, so I'm going to cut right to the chase. Catalan Fish Stew with Pimenton Mayonnaise.  I don't know what is Catalan about it but it was pretty darn good.  My picky seafood eater husband liked it even though he had some sort of a stomach bug that day. He claims he'd have another bowl if not for his stomach problem.  But who knows, he's such a sweetheart he does not want to hurt my feelings by criticizing my cooking.

Catalan Fish Stew with Pimenton Mayonnaise

1 1/2 lbs halibut fillets (or other white fish)
1 1/2 pound plum or roma tomatoes, cut in half crosswise
4 ounces sliced serrano ham or prosciutto, cut into thin strips
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves
1 cup bottled clam juice
1/3 cup pitted green olives, chopped
salt and pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon sweet Pimenton de la Vera (smoked Spanish paprika)

    Cut fish into 2 inch chunks.

    Next grate the cut sides of the tomatoes using a box grater, stopping when you reach the skin. You should end up with about 2 cups of tomato pulp. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large deep skillet. Add the onion and half of the garlic and cook on moderate heat, stirring frequently until softened and just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. 

Add the tomato pulp and cook over high heat until thickened, about 5 minutes.Add the clam juice and boil until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

Add the serrano ham or prosciutto, olives, and fish and simmer over moderate heat. Stir occasionally and cook until fish is cooked through and the stew is thick, about 5 minutes more.

Meanwhile, mash the remaining garlic with a pinch of salt in a bowl using the back of a spoon. Whisk in the mayonnaise, pimenton and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. (This step can be done upto 2 days ahead).
Sorry for the bad positioning of the teaspoon.

Serve with crusty bread to soak up those delicious juices!

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