This seafood chowder has all the flavours of the Mediterranean with delicious red pepper and tomato flavour which is a lovely change to the normal creamy often too heavy chowder that we are more familiar with. When I make this I also like to add some diced chorizo and some fresh red chilli, but this is a personal preference so I have left them out of this recipe. The dash of tabasco gives a very mild kick of heat, so do not be too afraid of adding it but again this can also be omitted if preferred
Spanish Seafood Chowder
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
Sea salt and black pepper
2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 large potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
1 red pepper, deseeded and diced
1 bay leaf
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 concentrated fish stock
1 fennel bulb, roughly chopped
few dashes of Tabasco sauce
600g mixed diced fish, skinned and pin-boned
bunch of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
2 slices white bread
1tbsp. extra olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based pan. Add the onions, celery and salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, over a medium heat for a few minutes to soften. Add the carrots, chopped fennel, potatoes, red pepper and herbs, and cook for about five minutes until the vegetables are browned.
Add the tomatoes to the pan and pour in the stock. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
Lightly season the diced mixed fish and place on top of the cooked vegetables. Cover the pan again and simmer for five minutes until the fish is firm and cooked through. Make the crispy croutons by dicing the bread and placing on a baking tray. Scatter with one table spoon of olive oil mixed with one crushed garlic clove, place on a hot grill, turning frequently, until browned (10 minutes). Set aside to cool.
Divide the soup between warmed bowls and scatter fresh herbs (tarragon and chives) on top, followed by the crispy garlic croutons and serve.