x large frozen squid tube, thawed in water
x tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
g smoked streaky bacon
x large brown onion
x large orange pepper
x large tins chopped tomatoes
Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
g tarragon (leaves picked)
g thyme (leaves picked)
Extra virgin olive oil to garnish
First you need to prepare everything so it's all ready when you need it.
1. Slice the bacon cross ways into about 5mm slices.
2. Split the cardamom pods and take out the small, black seeds inside. Put these together with the star anise and fennel seeds.
3. Chop the onions, celery and pepper into small dice. Chop the parsley bunch and garlic finely.
4. These bacon, spices and diced vegetables will make up your intense 'soffrito' flavour base.
5. Chop the carrots into about 1cm dice. Add to this the potatoes which you've scrubbed and chopped into about 2cm, mouthful sized pieces.
6. Skin the salmon and hake if necessary and cut them into about 4cm chunks.
7. Drain the mussels & squid. Slice the squid crossways into very fine rings no more than 2mm thick.
8. Put the thyme and tarragon leaves together and chop roughly.
1. Heat the extra virgin olive oil in your pan over a medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally until its fat renders out and it gets slightly crispy. Depending on the quality of the bacon this may take 5 minutes or so.
2. Remove the bacon to a small bowl with a straining spoon so that you retain the oils in the pan.
3. Pop the cardamom seeds, star anise and fennel seeds into the hot oils and stir fry for a minute or so over a medium heat so you can smell the fragrance.
4. Add the 'onions, celery, peppers, parsley and garlic and fry over a medium high heat for 2-3 minutes stirring frequently. Then cover the pan and turn down the heat to low and sweat the soffrito to develop the flavour for about 10 minutes. Please make sure that you don't colour the vegetables and try not to peek too often so that the steam stays in the pan.
5. Pop the bacon back in and add the carrots and potatoes and stir and mix so they are all well coated with the fragrant mix. Pop the lid back on the pan and cook the vegetables like this until the potatoes are just tender to the point of a knife. This will take 5-10 minutes or so depending on the type & size of your potatoes. It's important that the potatoes are tender before you add the tomatoes. The acid in the tomatoes can harden the surface of the potatoes if the potatoes are not already tender.
6. Add the tomatoes and stir well to combine. Season to taste; be easy with the salt as you have the fish to include. Cook the mix over a medium heat for 5 minutes to allow the flavours to combine.
7. Add boiling water. You want the stock/sauce to be liquid enough for the fish to easily drop in and poach. Then add the brown crab meat and stir well to mix. Bring the mixture up to a fast simmer.
8. Add the chunks of salmon and hake and stir them in gently. Once the mix comes back to a simmer, cover the pan and turn down to a low heat. Poach the fish for about 6 minutes so it's nearly cooked.
9. Add the mussels and squid rings, stir to mix and bring up to a simmer. Cover and cook for another 2-3 minutes only. Any more time and you'll make them both tough.
10. Check & correct your seasoning.
Serve immediately in bowls garnished with the thyme & tarragon and a drizzle more of extra virgin olive oil. Good sourdough or a proper French baguette makes the ideal accompaniment.