Cataplana is probably one of the most recognised Portuguese dishes.
It is an Algarve dish, from Southern Portugal and is usually enjoyed with sliced crusty bread.
The name of the meal comes from the copper cooking pot that the whole dish is created in. Like Paella (in Spain) the dish can have any combination of seafood and/or chouriço sausage. Some versions have pork added. It’s the perfect dish for a family gathering, where the dish can be made with the minimum of fuss, with the maximum in flavour.
How to make a seafood Cataplana
Depending on how hungry you are, this recipe serves 5-6
3 onions, thinly slice
4 garlic cloves, chopped up
1 cup olive oil
1 bay leaf
1 lb freshly chopped tomatoes (or use canned tomatoes)
1/4 lb chouriço, or chorizo if you’re in Spain.
1/2 cup white wine
2 lbs. littleneck clams in the shell. Rinse them.
1 pound prawns
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 teaspoons paprika
1 loaf of crusty bread sliced for dipping
1) In the cataplana, cook the onions and the garlic in the olive oil until the onions have browned a bit or gone translucent.
2) Add the bay leaf & pour in the tomatoes. Cover the cataplana and lower the heat so it simmers for about 30 minutes.
3) Now add in the chouriço. Cover and cook for another 30 minutes. Season with paprika or chili pepper
4) Then lay the clams and prawns on top. Add the wine, and cook for 15 minutes over a gentle heat, while the lid is covering the pot. Once done, add the parsley to decorate.
5) Pour into plates and serve with some bread from dipping. Or, for better effect, serve at the table straight from the Cataplana.