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Food Friday Recipe: Saffron Shellfish Sampler

Saffron Shellfish Sampler
Michael Ballon

Listen to the episode of Food Friday in which Chef Michael Ballon of Castle Street Café describes this recipe.

One of the classic seafood dishes from Spain and Portugal is a blend of shellfish served in a saffron tomato broth. 

The idea is similar to a bouillabaisse from the south of France, but the Iberian version seems to be exclusively shellfish, without the flat  fish like snapper or bass. The broth is made from a strongly seasoned combination of white wine, tomato, garlic, and saffron, and can include any combination of shrimp, scallops, mussels, and clams. The broth can be made ahead of time, and to serve, just cook the shellfish in the liquid. As the shells open up, they release the slightly salty ocean water into the broth, which imparts extra flavor.

Bon Appetite.


For the broth:

2 quarts peeled, diced tomatoes

1 onion, thinly sliced

a bulb fennel, thinly sliced

1 red pepper, thinly sliced

1 bay leaf

3 cups dry white wine

2 teaspoons minced garlic

pinch saffron

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)


1 lb mussels, cleaned and washed

16 large peeled and de-veined shrimp

1 lb sea scallops

1 dozen streamer clams


1. In a heavy bottomed sauce pot, lightly brown the onion in some olive oil, and then add all the remaining  broth ingredients

2. Cover the pot, and let simmer on  low to moderate heat for about 30 minutes.

3. The broth can be prepared ahead of time. When ready to serve, add the shellfish directly into the pot, let simmer about 10 minutes, and then ladle into bowls and serve with crusty garlic bread.

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