Fish Stew alla Porta Palazzo

September 8, 2015

Fish Stew alla Porta Palazzo


Fish Stew alla Porta Palazzo

The Porta Palazzo Market is a vibrant, loud almost scary place. Located in the centre of the northern Italian city of Turin there is an heir of madness about it. Even in August, when most city dwellers take to the coast, the market still thrives six mornings a week, with a massive clean up operation taking place every afternoon. I wanted to cook in Turin. When your apartment is just 500 metres from so many great ingredients it is an understandable urge. We went to the fish house first. It being August there were only two sellers there but the produce was magnificent! I went for the big, loud and jolly looking fella with crooked black teeth. He gleefully tolerated my limited Italian and we came away with some of the freshest octopus, prawns and mussels I have seen. The fruit and vegetable market is just outside and this is where the fun really begins. Everybody wants rid of their produce, nobody wants to have to pack it away again so the prices are extraordinarily low. I bought a kilo of beef tomatoes for €1 before realising I could have gotten two kilos at the next stall for the same price. I didn’t mind.

The most interesting part of my market visit was the bread truck. When all bread, no matter what type, is being sold at €1.70 per kilo you know the “queue” will be big, especially in Italy. The problem in Italy, of course, is that they don’t have our passion for queuing, it’s a free for all. I stand there for ten minutes before a rather cool looking guy in sunglasses and a shirt shouts something along the lines of “ah come on, this foreign lad here has no idea what’s going on, serve him next will you!” I’m grateful, very grateful. After picking up a couple more ingredients it’s back to the apartment for our fish stew.

Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a starter

4tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 Onion (finely chopped)
1 clove of Garlic (finely chopped)
1Kg Beef Tomatoes (chopped)
2 Medium Octopus (ask your fishmonger to clean them or see video link below)
1Kg Mussels (soaked and beards removed)
400g Prawns (shells removed)
2tbsp freshly chopped Flat Leaf Parsley
Lemon Juice
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
2 or 4 slices of Crusty Bread

1. Saute the onion and garlic in the oil over a medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes. Cover and cook for 5 minutes to allow the tomatoes to release their juice. Don’t season yet.

2. Add the two whole octopus. Cover, turn down the heat and simmer for 45 minutes.

3. Remove the octopus and add the mussels, prawns and parsley. Cover and cook over a high heat for 5 minutes, shaking the pot every now and again. Meanwhile cut the octopus into bite size pieces.

4. Add the octopus back to the pot and season to taste with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Lay a slice of bread onto the bottom of each bowl and pour in the stew. 

Notes: Add some chilli with the onion and garlic if you want to add a little kick to the stew. The beef tomatoes should have enough juice. If they are not ripe and aren’t releasing alot of juice then add some water. Here is a good video explaining how to clean out an octopus, if your fish monger hasn’t done it already. Leave it whole instead of chopping up though!


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