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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

ARAÑA WITH MEDIEVAL CATALAN SEAFOOD SOPPES RECIPE


Weever Fish - Araña
Photo by: Stewart1979 
L. Trachinus araneus, Eng. spotted weever. This saltwater fish is found in the Atlantic and Mediterranean at the bottom of temperate seas near shrimp beds. It was especially abundant along the coasts of Granada and Murcia but fish were rarely eaten by upper class Muslims. Lower classes and especially those living along these coasts ate it frequently fried, baked or roasted as fish balls or on skewers. Because of the solidness of the meat, it also has been a good ingredient for fish soups or sopes. All fish were thought to have had a cold and humid nature. Two other species are found in British seas, the Trachinus draco (greater weever), see pique, and Trachinus vipera (lesser weever). [Castro. Alimentación. 1996:327; and Corbera. 1998:225]  


Bouillabaisse
(Another Dish the French Stole!)
Photo by chiberlin
MEDIEVAL CATALAN SEAFOOD SOPPES RECIPE FROM THE ARCHIVES OF THE MEDIEVAL SPANISH CHEF

Ingredients

3 lbs of a variety freshly caught fish (3-5 varieties are recommended) including spotted weever
½ c olive oil
1½ lbs shell fish (oysters, clams and/or mussels)
2 c cooked shrimp crab or lobster meat
1 large onion thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves mashed
2 carrots quartered
4 shallots, thinly sliced or white parts of 3-3 leeks, thinly sliced
4 stalks celery thinly sliced
1fennel bulb with stalks and fronds
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme or ¾ tsp dried thyme
3-4 sprigs parsley
1 bay leaf
2-3 whole cloves
zest of ½ an orange
½ tsp saffron mashed
2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
4 c fish broth and/or clam juice
juice from 1 lemon
1½ c sherry
6 slices of 1-7 day old French bread ¼” thick

For sauce:
2 tbsp hot fish stock or clam broth
4 garlic cloves peeled
½ tsp salt
¼ c white bread
½ c olive oil

Preparation

For the sauce:

Put fish stock or clam broth in a blender. Add garlic, salt and bread. Blend until very smooth. While the blender is still running, slowly add olive oil. As soon as the oil disappears stop the motor. When ready to serve, pour it into a small bowl to pass with the sopes.

For the sopes:

Heat ¼ c of olive oil in a large saucepan. When hot, add onion, garlic, carrots and shallots (or leeks). Sauté for 2-3 minutes until limp. Add celery and fennel. Stir into the oil with a wooden spoon until well coated. Add another ¼ c olive oil, thyme, bay leaf, cloves and orange zest. Cook until the onion is soft and transparent put not brown.

Cut the fish into 2” pieces. Add the pieces of fish and 2 c water to the vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Skim any foam. Add oysters, clams and/or mussels and the shrimp, crabmeat and/or lobster cut into pieces or left whole.

Add saffron, salt and pepper. Add fish broth and/or clam juice, lemon juice and sherry. Bring to a simmer and cook 5 minutes.

Correct seasoning of broth with more salt or pepper and a few drops of lemon juice if necessary. Place a slice of French bread in each soup bowl and pour the stew over it. Serve with the sauce.

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