A Gift from the Sea

Ayda Robana of Om Sweet Mama uses a potpourri of fresh ingredients to put a North African Twist on classic Seafood Bouillabaisse. This savory medley includes clams, mussels, shrimp, chorizo, aromatic herbs, and local vegetables.

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Seafood Bouillabaisse with a North African Twist
Serves 4-6

For the sofrito
1 small leek
1 medium carrot
1 large shallot
1 piece celery
½ bulb fennel
1 small Thai chili
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
¾ cup diced chorizo seco
or pancetta
5 new potatoes, cut into
small pieces
1 pinch saffron
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. Tunisian harissa
2 sprigs of thyme
1 handful chopped parsley
2 bay leaves
½ of a preserved lemon,
finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. of salt
5 cups chicken stock
1 cup lobster or clam juice
1 cup dry white wine
1 lb. each of little neck clams,
Manila clams, mussels, shrimp
1 cup heavy cream

Make a sofrito* from the veggies listed in Step One. Fry in 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once softened and translucent (5-10 minutes) take them out of the large stock pot and set them aside.

Add remaining olive oil and fry chorizo and potatoes for another 5-10 minutes until crispy and golden. Add aromatics (saffron, tomato paste, harissa, thyme, parsley, bay leaf, preserved lemon, garlic, salt) and the liquid (stock, lobster or clam juice, wine). Bring to a boil.

Add scrubbed and debearded shellfish. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until all the shells have opened. Add heavy cream and stir. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and lemon wedges.

*Sofrito is a sauce used as a base in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Latin American cooking. Preparations may vary, but it typically consists of aromatic ingredients cut into small pieces and sauteed or braised in cooking oil.

About Om Sweet Mama - Ayda Robana, culinary artist, caterer, and private chef, is passionate about using locally-sourced, organic, farm-fresh ingredients. Highly influenced by her world travels and Tunisian-American upbringing, she founded Om Sweet Mama catering in 2008 and was among the first chefs in Santa Barbara to introduce pop-up meals in locations around town.  805.837.9009, omsweetmama.com