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Portuguese Seafood Stew with Saffron

6 June 2021

To celebrate 1 year of A Pinch of Saffron being live I thought it would be fun to share some recipes actually using saffron. To start with I’m making Caldeirada, a Portuguese seafood stew. A hearty stew, full of flavour, studded with golden yellow potatoes and packed with seafood. My kind of dish. Super easy, super tasty and on the table within 30 minutes!

Portuguese Seafood Stew with Saffron

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Dinner, lunch, soup, stew Mediterranean, portuguese
By Saffron Serves: 2-3
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 large tomatoes, diced (± 250 g)
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 500 g potatoes, cubed (if the peel is thin you can leave it on)
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 2-3 bayleaves
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1/8 tsp all spice (piment in Dutch)
  • 1/2 tsp Smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp sugar (or more to taste)
  • 4 cups fish stock (vegetable or chicken will work too)
  • Seafood / Fish (your choice, you can mix and match)
  • 1 large (tiger) prawn per person (I don't devein them when leaving whole in their shells, but feel free to do so if you prefer)
  • 300 g mussels (see notes how to check on freshness)
  • 300 g vongole (see notes how to check on freshness)
  • 300 g cod fish, cut into big chunks
  • To serve
  • A small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped or torn
  • Fresh, crusty bread



Heat some olive oil in a heavy based pan which has a lid.


When hot add the onions and sauté for 2 minutes until fragrant and translucent.


Add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes until fragrant and translucent.


Add in the prawn and sauté ± 2 minutes on each side. It doesn't have to cook through, it's just to flavour the oil, why let that go to waste right?


Remove the prawn and set aside.


Add the tomatoes and the thyme let simmer on low to medium heat for about 5 minutes.


Add the stock, the all spice, smoked paprika, bay leaves, sugar, saffron and season with pepper and salt. Bring to a simmer.


When simmering add the potatoes, bring back to a simmer and cover with a lid.


Cook on low heat for 15 minutes.


Taste and adjust seasoning if needed with sugar, salt and pepper.


Take out 2-3 potatoes, crush them with a fork and add them back into the sauce, this will thicken it up a bit.


Add the mussels and vongole and close the lid, let steam for ± 3-4 minutes, they're done when they've opened.


Add the white fish and the prawn back in and cover, cook for 3 minutes.


Serve with fresh parsley over the top and fresh crusty bread to soak up the juices.


To check if all the vongole and / or mussels are fresha nd good to eat cover them in cold water and let the water run for a bit. All the closed ones are good to go. If some shells are broken, discard these. The open ones need to be checked. Tap them firmly 5-6 times with the back of a spoon and wait a few seconds. If they close they're good to eat, if they stay open they're no longer alive so you need to discard them.

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