Travel in the north of Peru and you will find some of the most diverse and savory seafood dishes in the world. The sheer abundance of the Pacific Ocean in this region has spurred a cuisine that is one of the world's best - if not most overlooked. And perhaps no single dish combines all the tradition and largess of the region as the rich fish stew, Parihuela.

I once had a dish of this in a little seaside restaurant in Los Organos with my dad that knocked my socks off. Well, I wasn't wearing any since we were at the beach but you get the idea. It had a warm richness that went perfect with the chilly evening breezes off the ocean. That version was almost chowder-like and quite different from the typical style of cooking the soup you find up and down the coast (and represented here).

This is a relatively conventional recipe I am posting as a template for my future efforts to figure out how to cook this dish. The key seems to be making a good fish broth as a base. Having fresh Peruvian ingredients such as Aji Amarillo and Peruvian limes are a key as well.

  • .5 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 medium size onions, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon sundried red aji paste
  • 3 aj√≠ amarillo
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1.5 cup white wine
  • 8 small fish fillets
  • 3.5 lb fish carcasses, cleaned
  • 16 mussels
  • 10.5 crayfish
  • 10.5 shrimps
  • 10.5 squids, cut in rings
  • 8 clams, cleaned
  • 8 sea scallops
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, minced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Place fish head and bones in a large size pan with 10 cups of salted water and boil for half hour. Add cleaned mussels and boil for 10 minutes. Strain and reserve stock.

Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large pot over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and transparent, about eight minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute. Add tomato, paprika, red aji paste, yellow aji, salt, pepper bay leaf and oregano. Cook for about five minutes stirring well. Add wine and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Add fish stock, soy sauce, cilantro and parsley. Bring to a simmer and let cook for ten minutes.

Just before serving place seafood and cooked mussels into the soup and bring to a boil for 3 or 4 minutes. Serve immediately with few key lime drops and green onion.

posted by kleph @ saturday, july 01, 2006 $formatted_time |

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