Seafood and saffron stew

Serves 4. From “Persiania – Recipes from the Middle East and Beyond”

  • 800g mussels in their shells
  • 400g small clams in their shells
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 long french shallots, halved and sliced into half moons
  • 1 garlic bulb, cloves peeled and bashed (but not crushed)
  • good pinch of red chilli flakes
  • 2 generous pinches of saffron threads, ground with pestle and mortar
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 heaped teaspoons crushed sea salt plus extra for soaking
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 700g passata
  • 400g can good quality tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons caster sugar
  • 12 raw tiger prawns shell on or off
  • 200g baby squid cut into 1cm rings
  • 8 scallops, roe discarded
  • large bunch of flat leaf parsley
  • squeeze of lemon juice


Prepare mussels and clams by soaking in cold water with sea salt.

Saute the shallots in the olive oil over medium high heat, then add garlic and chilli flakes – do not allow garlic to burn. Add the saffron, turmeric, sea salt and black pepper and mix. Pour in the passata and canned tomatoes and stir, then add the sugar. Reduce heat to low and cook the sauce for 45 mins to an hour – occasionally stirring to prevent sticking.

Towards the end of the cooking time drain and rinse the mussels and clams. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. Add the mussels and clams and cover until they open – about five mins. Then add the prawns and squid and cook for 3-4 minutes, then add the scallops.

Give the pan a final stir, take off the heat and stir in the chopped parsley and squeeze over the lemon juice. Serve with bread garnished with remaining parsley.


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