Catalan Sardines with Susquet on Toast

Catalan Sardines with Susquet on Toast

Daria Souvorova

45 minutes
serves: 8-12

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We had the opportunity to try a variety of fish stews in Barcelona. I was feeling sick after taking one too many face-plants in the snow while learning how to ski in the Pyrenees, so the stews were a welcome revelation. The weather was scheduled to be quite chilly this weekend, so a stew sounded just right. Susquet means fish stew, but you will see a wide variety of dishes referred to as Susquet, various veggies and seafood is used, and some come out looking like stew, while others look quite a bit more like soup. I cooked the water out of ours, fried some sardines on top and decided to serve it on toasted Ciabatta with our Catalan Sardines on Toast with Susquet. Seafood is a really important element in Catalan dishes, since the Northern Spain region harvests seafood and relies on it. There is a wide range of beautiful fish and shellfish to explore and use in stews. While our Susquet is a bit nontraditional, I can imagine the susquet combined with a bit more seafood stock with mussels, clams, calamari, prawns and/or sea bream, or any combination seafood that sounds delicious to you!

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Whether you serve it on toast, or with bread on the side, consider our beautiful Ciabatta loaf to go along with your susquet!

Ever since our trip to Barcelona last December, I have been planning and daydreaming about cooking Catalan food for our friends. After a month of menu-planning and experiments, I was ready!

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We had a bunch of friends over for a four course Catalan dinner this Saturday, and I think it was one of our best efforts. In traditional Spanish fashion, we did not want to serve the main course until late, so we served the courses slowly and did not finish dessert before midnight. Doesn’t everyone love a good 5 hour dinner every once in a while?

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These beautiful toasts were not the only treat we shared for our first course. I loved eating Manchengo and Iberico Ham in Barcelona, so I made sure to include them in our first course, with an assortment of olives, of course!

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To keep the seafood starters going, we also served Mussels in Escabeche, a mixture of seafood, veggies, and acid. Delicious!

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We followed up our first course with a traditional Catalan Calçotada. Calçots are similar to green onions and leeks and are in season for a short time during the winter. The Calçotada is a Catalan celebration of the start of spring, celebrated by grilling calçots and dipping them in a delicious Romesco sauce.

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Our main course, served at 10:30pm in Spanish fashion was a pretty impressive effort, if I do say so myself. We had a Rabbit and Artichoke Paella, a Squid Ink Rice with Prawns, an Escalivada of beautiful veggies, and Sea Bass roasted in a salt shell served with a delicious citrusy salad of Oranges, Radicchio and Pickled Red Onions.

 

At midnight, we finished our meal with a traditional Crema Catalana, a Brazo de Gitano filled with Persimmon Jam and Whipped Cream, and a simple but delicious Homemade Fresh Cheese with Honey (Mel & Mato).

I am incredibly proud of this meal and look forward to sharing the rest of the recipes with you in the coming days, so stay tuned and enjoy the Mussels in Escabeche recipe below!

Ingredients:

        • olive oil
        • 2 large onions, minced
        • 4 leeks, sliced into rounds
        • 1 bell pepper, chopped
        • 1 tablespoon Paprika, to taste
        • 14 ounces of plum tomatoes
        • 1 teaspoon condensed fish stock plus 1/2 cup water
        • salt and pepper
        • for the sardines:
        • 16 cleaned and boned fillets of 8 sardines
        • 1 cup or so of flour
        • zest of 1 lemon
        • handful of parsley, minced
        • salt and pepper/li>
        • olive oil
        • 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of water
        • 16 slices of bread

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                1. Fry the onions, leeks, and bell peppers in some olive oil for 8-10 minutes until softened and glistening.
                  Add the paprika and a bit of crushed red pepper if you like more spice.
                  Cook for 10 more minutes.
                  Add stock concentrate, water, and tomatoes. Simmer for 30-40 minutes. Add a bit of water if it gets too dry.
                  The stew should be thicker and darker.
                  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
                2. A few minutes before serving, combine the flour, salt and pepper,
                  lemon zest, and minced parsley.
                  Pat the sardines dry.
                  Whisk egg together with water in a small bowl.
                  Dredge a sardine in the flour mixture, shake off excess.
                  Dip in the egg mixture, shake off excess and dredge in the flour mixture again.
                  Shake off excess. Repeat with remaining sardines.
                  Heat about 1/4 of an inch of oil in a skillet.
                  Fry until golden on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side.
                  Remove to a paper towel lined plate and season with salt.
                3. Broil some bread until a bit crispy.
                  Add a few tablespoons of hot stew to the bread and top with a sardine.
                  I like to serve it all separately and allow the guests to assemble their own.
                  This way the bread doesn’t get soggy.

               

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