Mariscada (Spanish shellfish soup)

dr rockerdr rocker Regular
edited February 2011 in Life
Mariscada is an old Spanish peasant dish – one of those dishes like paella or cassoulet where n one is going to agree on what is in it or how it is made – the kind of dish neighbouring villages fall out over, the reason why families feud with each other and is so embedded in regional culture, it is like religion.

I learned to make this from a Spanish chef at a local restaurant – when I say learned, I saw it on the menu, ordered it, loved it, asked the waiter if I could speak to the chef and he shouted and swore the ingredients at me in a busy kitchen. He did tell me – as I have outlined above – that everyone makes it different and he did take the time to say that people will argue it must contain lobster, but to be true to its peasant roots, he would not be putting a £20 piece of seafood in it. I agree – there are other things I would do with lobster.

This will serve two as a starter or with some nice warm crusty bread will do as a good meal.


Handful of cherry tomatoes, on the vine
four cloves of garlic
olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Hot water or stock
Shellfish – a mix of muscles, prawns, squid and scallops (coral removed) (prep in advance)
One chilli
one shallot
Fresh ground black pepper

Put the tomatoes (still on the vine), two roughly chopped cloves of garlic, a tablespoon of olive oil and a few drops of balsamic vinegar in an earthenware roaster (as in the picture) and grind on some salt and fresh black pepper. The vine stays on the tomatoes as it really adds a deep tomato flavour – the few drops of balsamic will not really make the end soup taste of balsamic, just add a deep mid range of flavour. Roast at 180c for around an hour.


Take it out of the oven halfway through and give it a bit of a mix – take in the smell that is coming off it. Yeah, that's good.

When you are coming up to the hour mark, chop and mince with a knife the other two cloves of garlic, the shallot and the chilli. It is up to you what you use, I use the fairly hot long chilli pepper. You could use a haberaro if you want, but I would not use a scotch bonnet – they take too much time to cook out and if you do not cook them long enough, they have a bitter taste I find.


Take the tomatoes and garlic and remove the vine and blend down in a food processor – this is personal preference – you could roughly chop them if you so desired.

Heat a saucepan on the stove, add a little olive oil and fry the minced chilli, shallot and garlic for two minutes – add the blended tomato and garlic cook through for a minute, maybe two. Then add around a pint of hot water and allow to mix through – stir it all together good.

Once you have got the liquid a nice even red colour, add in your shellfish – you can use whatever you like – when I use the above, I pre cook the muscles and shell them – you can leave the shells on, but it will be messy eating. Chop the squid into rings and tentacles (my favourite bit) and shell the prawns – also, clean the scallops – removed the corals – do as you want with these – I like to cover them in garlic, lime and butter and grill them and eat separate.

Add the shellfish and cook through – should take no more than 3-4 minutes if the soup is hot.

Make sure you have some warm bowls to serve into – portion up and I like a little olive oil on the top.


(Yeah, denbyware!)

It should not need any seasoning – either in the pan or at the table – due to the seasoning you put on the tomatoes before you roasted them.

If its a main, serve with an oakey cabernet merlot or if it is a starter and you are pushing the boat out, a nice biscuity champagne.

Its a very light meal, but will fill you because of the fish – protein fills better than carbs any day.

You really cannot get any more basic – anyone can make this – you could prepare the tomatoes in advance and throw it all together at the last minute if you wished.

As with every recipe I post, feel free to tinker with it – after all, there is no set recipe, just some ideas behind it.


  • edited January 2011
    Another bang up post DrRocker, thank you very much. And an excellent example of the seafood/tomato soups that pop up in many cultures, Bouliabaisse, Creole Gumbo, Manhattan Clam Chowder, the combination works in so many ways. If I were to tinker with it a bit I would add some Thai red curry paste, lime leaves, and a little fish sauce, three extra ingredients and you're on the other side of the planet. This has inspired me a bit, and a pot of something similar will be on the stove this Sunday to feed guests at our weekly jam.

    "my next guide will have pics, or I am punching myself in the junk"
  • VizierVizier Regular
    edited January 2011
    Fuck, I love that dish. If you live by the coast, it can actually be a pretty cheap dish. Plus it's great for hangovers and the seafood is just an orgasm in your mouth. There's quite a lot of variations to that dish and it's pretty easy to make.

    Tastes great with shrimp, and there's also variations of it where you can add carrots and even potatoes.
  • dr rockerdr rocker Regular
    edited January 2011
    Cheers Viz - it does make me smile when the recipes I post get the thumbs up from those that eat it as a cultural / native dish.
  • edited February 2011
    I have always had a special fondness for soups and stews. Cooking ingredients together in water brings their flavors together like nothing else.
  • Gary OakGary Oak Regular
    edited February 2011
    This looks good. I'd like to have a food processor to make this though. Personally I hate the feel of tomatoes in my mouth. That's just me though.
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