The first time I tried eating mussels in my life was during one of our Mexican vacations at a resort called Barceló in the Riviera Maya. I tried them mainly out of curiosity because they looked a little intimidating but after I tasted them, I saw that there was nothing to be afraid of, especially because I really like seafood.
The same thing happened with this seafood stew because even though I love most types of seafood, every now and then I find the taste too overwhelming but whenever I make it, it turns out perfect. I think it’s the balance of the coconut milk and the wine or it could also be the fact that I only use seafood that I really like. To make it, just use your favorite seafood ingredients, you can even use calamari rings and octopus if you want.
And as far as the white fish, I recommend not only one that you really like but also one that won’t disintegrate in the stew while cooking. I love using halibut because it’s not only pretty neutral and not too fishy, but it also stays intact while it’s cooking. But you can also use any other type of white fish like cod or even sea bass.
Colombian Seafood Stew (Cazuela de Mariscos)
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 cup white onion, chopped (1 medium onion or ½ large onion)
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ½ red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 seedless roma tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 4 cups (¼ liter) fish/seafood broth
- ½ cup (120 ml) white wine
- 1 can (13.5 oz/400 ml) unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 lb white fish cut into 1 inch (2,54 cm) cubes (Halibut, cod, sea bass, red snapper)
- 1 lb medium sized shrimp, peeled, deveined and rinsed
- 1 lb mussels, cleaned
- Chopped cilantro for garnishing
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it is translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Now, add the red bell pepper and tomatoes and cook until they are soft, about 5-8 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir to cover the vegetables.
- Add the fish broth and wine and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and let it simmer for about 10 minutes so the alcohol can evaporate. Add the coconut milk and simmer for another 3 minutes.
- Add the white fish and the mussels. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 5-6 minutes. The mussels should now be opened and you can discard any that remain closed. Now add the shrimp and simmer for 3 minutes or until they are fully cooked.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving. You can serve it with chopped cilantro sprinkled on top and with a side of white rice and patacones.
To thicken the soup you can add ¼ cup cornstarch dissolved in water or between ¼-½ cup of heavy cream until it thickens.