Some time ago, during our recent holidays on Majorca we went to the restaurant where fish and seafood was served and we ordered very similar soup to this one. When preparing this recipe I went back in memories to our summer time: sun, waves and our meal at the elegant table, on the Spanish terrace. As I said earlier, we are not big fans of the fish dishes, except for herring and salmon and we do make exceptions when abroad to try local specialities. But I have to tell you that this soup has changed my mind a little bit in this subject. It has a very interesting list of ingredients: monkfish, mussels, lemon, garlic, saffron, white wine and sweet potatoes - all the flavours blend together beautifully in a very interesting composition. Soup is very rich and has a very strong flavour. It tastes great with fresh bread and glass of white. 

A few words about fish and seafood.
Mussels, like most seafood, are very healthy and rich in unsaturated fatty acid Omega 3. And it was the first time we tried monkfish. I do not know if you heard about it before. It is often called European seafood monster for a reason - it has a huge head and jaws, and moves along the bottom of the sea, where it hunts for its prey. The tail meat of the fish is sometimes compared to the lobster tail and has been alluded to as the "poor man's lobster" although today it commands prices equivalent to, and in some cases exceeding, lobster and other marine delicacies. Below are two videos for you to see monkfish in all its glory :) 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcwhzaoDu40
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yFRQ_J2d2E

Mussels, monkfish, sweet potato and saffron stew

Serves 6

  • 1kg mussels
  • 150ml white wine
  • 500g monkfish
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • 200ml fish stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 1 lemon
  • generous pinch of saffron
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and black pepper

Wash and rinse mussels. Place them with the wine in a saucepan over a high heat. Cover and steam until they open, but be sure to reject any that fail to open. Allow to cool. Strain the cooking liquid and juices and reserve for later. Remove the shells from two-thirds of the mussels, leaving the remainder in their shells.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a low-medium heat, add chopped onion and cook until gently softened, about 10 minutes. Add chopped garlic and peeled and chopped into chunks sweet potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook for a further two minutes. Add the stock and lemon juice and zest and bring to the boil. Also add the reserved cooking liquid from the mussels, saffron and bay leaf. Check the seasoning, reduce the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender.

About 10 minutes from the end, add cut into chunks monkfish. When the monkfish is cooked, add the cooked mussels and heat through for a few minutes.


Source of recipe and image: Easyfood magazine (Recipe: Geraldine Dunne)