11 Mar 2007 04:48 pm

Zarzuela de Mariscos

1 tsp whole cumin, toasted
7 whole cloves
1/4 tsp (heaping) whole black peppercorns
2 whole ancho chiles, soaked in warm water until soft

1 8 oz fish fillet (cod, scrod, hake, or other firm whitefish)
1/4 tsp powdered chile de arbol
lime juice
2 tbl canola or other heat-resistant oil

5 clams, washed
5 mussels, scrubbed & beards removed
2 jumbo shrimp, peeled, cut in half lengthwise & dark veins removed
6-1/2 inch piece fully cooked Mexican chorizo, sliced
1-1/2 cups basic Mexican tomato sauce
3 baby artichoke hearts, halved and deep fried until golden brown
9 small pimento stuffed olives
4 whole serrano chiles, roasted
2 tsp green oil (for garnish)
lime wedges for garnish

In a clean coffee grinder or small mortar and pestle, blend cumin seeds, peppercorns and cloves. Place in blender with softened ancho chiles and 1 cup water. Blend until smooth. Add mixture to tomato sauce, and heat gently in a small saucepan until hot. Remove from heat, set aside, and keep warm.

Rub fish on both sides with chile de arbol powder, lime juice, and salt. Sear fillet very quickly in a very hot pan in which the oil has been heated – fish should be browned only on the outside and not cooked through.

Place the tomato sauce mixture into a small, heavy casserole . Place the fish in the center of the sauce and surround it with the shrimp, clams, mussels, chorizo, fried artichokes, Serrano chiles and olives. Season with salt. Cover casserole and bake in a 375 oven for 6 minutes.

Serve with sliced French bread. Drizzle fish with green oil (see below) and garnish with lime wedges.

Green Oil:

2 serrano chiles
2 garlic cloves
1/2 bunch cilantro
small handful spinach leaves, stemmed, blanched, and squeezed dry
salt to taste
1/2 cup olive oil

Place Serrano chiles, garlic cloves, cilantro, spinach and salt in blender, Blend, adding a small amount of water as needed to blend into a thick paste.
Place mixture into a bowl, and whisking, pour in olive oil in a thin stream until blended.

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