Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Peruvian Seafood Stew

Seafood stews are made with a variety of fish and shellfish. You can use shellfish that has been shucked and cleaned, or whole clams and mussels, for instance—just allow a little extra time for the shells to open.

For this recipe, I kept it simple—and fast—with peeled shrimp, bay scallops, and good-quality canned clams. Liquor from the canned clams and bottled clam juice make the broth deliciously briny.

So what makes this soup Peruvian? Potatoes. Peru is considered the birthplace of the potato, where it has been cultivated for more than 8,000 years. For this recipe I used small, white “creamer” potatoes—new potatoes with good moisture content and creamy texture. There’s no need to peel them because the skins are thin and delicate.

Creamer Potatoes
Not all Peruvian seafood stews include tomatoes, bell pepper, or specific spices and herbs, but you can bet that most highlight potatoes. That said, don't skip the spices here. They really give richness and depth to the broth.

This is a light but satisfying dinner for four. You could also divide the soup among small bowls to serve as a first course for a larger group.

For an Italian-style seafood soup, check out Cioppino for Two.

Serves 4

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cayenne chiles, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, sliced into thin, vertical strips
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, sliced into thin, short strips
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 2 14.5-oz cans unsalted diced tomatoes (preferably organic)
  • 12 oz white creamer potatoes, quartered (or halved, if very small)
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 oz bottled clam juice
  • 1/2  tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2  tsp turmeric
  • 1/2  tsp cumin
  • 1/2  tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 lb peeled, deveined shrimp (28-30 count)
  • 1/3 lb bay scallops (or sea scallops, cubed)
  • 1 10-oz can boiled baby clams in water, drained over a bowl and rinsed (reserve liquor)
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • chopped cilantro, for garnish
Seafood and Reserved Clam Juice
  1. Heat a soup pot over medium heat and add the olive oil.
  2. Add the chiles, garlic, onion, bell pepper, and ginger and cook, stirring often, until beginning to soften, 3 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes and potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes.
  4. Add the bottled clam juice, reserved clam liquor, and next 4 ingredients (through oregano). Increase the heat and bring to a simmer. Cook 2 minutes.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium again and cook until the potatoes are tender, 15-18 minutes, depending on the size of the potato pieces.
  6. Add the shrimp, scallops, and clams and cook 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice. Taste for seasoning before serving.
Onion Mixture Beginning to Cook 
Tomatoes and Potatoes Added 
Clam Juice Mixture Added 
Seafood Added
To serve, divide the stew among 4 shallow bowls and garnish with cilantro.

Peruvian Seafood Stew

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