Monday, June 17, 2013

Seafood Rice Cazuela - IHCC Potluck

Despite the fact that I live in one of the most multicultural cities in the world, there is a sad dearth of good Mexican restaurants here. Of course there are a few places that offer tasty casual fare, but for something a little different, I rely on Rick Bayless. So for this week's Potluck theme for I Heart Cooking Clubs, I'm cooking with the previously featured chef.

Seafood Rice Cazuela/Arroz a la Tumbada
Seafood Rice Cazuela, from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen, is a recipe I've had my eye on for some time. Described as a "brothy paella", I had high expectations for it, as I do for any dish that involves a lot of fresh seafood, something I associate with special occasions. I'm happy to report that this dish met all of them....it was fantastic!

The recipe starts with an essential sauce/salsa, a combination of broiled, peeled tomatoes and pan-grilled garlic and jalapeños, that adds huge flavour to the broth.

Essential Roasted Tomato-Jalapeño Salsa ingredients
Apart from some rice which needs to be cooked, the only other item that requires much time is the squid. Rick recommends using the squid cooking water in place of some of the chicken stock required for the soup but I substituted this with bottled clam juice.

Once the components are ready, the dish comes together very quickly: clams, shrimp and fish (cod) are briefly cooked in broth flavoured with the salsa, and the cooked rice and squid are added at the end to reheat.


The seafood was perfectly cooked and tender (even the squid!) and was the star of the dish; the broth was light but amazingly rich in flavour with a nice kick from the jalapeños; the rice tempered the heat and added substance.

I served it with The Rustic Jícama Appetizer as a starter, a refreshing salad of fresh jícama, cucumber, radishes and oranges, seasoned with salt, chile powder and lime juice. It's crisp, crunchy and so delicious, I could eat it every day.


     Rustic Jícama Appetizer with Red Chile and Lime/ Entremés de Jícama
This recipe is also from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen and can be found here.

11 comments:

  1. Bayless's recipes always make me so happy! The flavors in this sound amazing!

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  2. This does look fantastic! I love seafood and this looks perfect!
    And the Jicama Appetizer looks so good! Beautiful colours and looks so refreshing!

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  3. I have never had jicama....it looks good!

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  4. I am a seafood fanatic and this looks AMAZING - I would love this whole meal as jicama is also one of my faves. def. want to try this one

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  5. Oh my this looks good--what a perfect meal with the brothy cazuela and the crisp refreshing salad. I think I am overdue for a Bayless dish. (Maybe next Potluck!?) It's tough to find good Mexican food here too. ;-)

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  6. Wow, what a meal! I'm intimidated by squid, though. Did you clean and cut up yours ? If so, do tell! I'd love to learn how!

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    1. I've been known to cheat and buy them pre-cleaned, even sliced, but I didn't this time. I bought them frozen - here, "fresh" usually means previously frozen - and cleaned them when they were only partially thawed: the bodies were almost completely defrosted but the innards were still a frozen mass....easily removed with virtually no mess...and I wore gloves ;)!
      Serious Eats has a good tutorial:
      http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/07/how-to-clean-whole-fresh-squid-instructions.html

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    2. I agree with Zosia, Susan - I was a bit nervous the first time I cleaned squid myself, but actually found it quite easy and surprisingly satisfying.

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  7. You have made two beautiful dishes here! I love how gorgeous the cazuela looks, such a great variety of seafood with fresh flavors. Not to mention, that salad is a beautiful blend of colors. Very stunning!

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  8. Oh, I want all of this. Sadly, most of our time with Rick Bayless passed me by for a variety of reasons, partly because many of his ingredients are not accessible, but this looks like a great dish for me to try. The seafood cazuela is right up my alley, and the salad looks divine, but I'm pretty sure we can't get jicama here - in fact I don't even know what that is.

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    1. Sue, jicama is a root vegetable that has the texture and juiciness of a firm, crisp apple but a subtle flavour that reminds me of raw rutabaga/swede. I think you could use either in this salad or a little of both.

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