Portuguese Cataplana


Lisbon Sauce

  • 1 charred red pepper, peeled and seeded
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Stew Base

  • 4 tomatoes, rough chopped & seeded
  • 1 large sweet onion, quartered & sliced
  • 2 Portuguese chorizos, half minced, half sliced
  • 16 oz clam juice or chicken stock
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ⅛ + ¼ + ¼ cup olive oil (you'll need to add these separately)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • pinch of fresh chopped parsley
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • sea salt

Additional Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, rough chopped
  • 1 lb mussels
  • 1 lb clams
  • 2 lbs squid tube, cleaned & chopped
  • ½ lb conch, sliced (or scallops to be added with shrimp if you substitute)
  • ½ onion, quartered & sliced
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 lb shrimp, shelled and tails intact
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup store bought tomato sauce
  • 4 fillets of sea bass
  • chopped parsley
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • salt

Special Equipment

  • copper cataplana pot, wok with foil cover, or pot with lid


Lisbon Sauce

  1. Add red pepper, garlic, olive oil & salt to a blender and puree.  Set aside

Stew Base

  1. Remove sausage from casing and mince half and slice the other half. Fry in ⅛ cup of olive oil, until slightly caramelized, remove chorizo from pot (set aside) and reserve cooking oil
  2. Add additional ¼ cup of olive oil to the pan. Add tomatoes and saute on high heat until tomatoes have softened, about 3 minutes. Add salt if desired. Add onions and another ¼ cup of olive oil and salt to taste. Cook onions for 2-3 minutes
  3. Add chorizo, bay leaves, parsley, garlic, red pepper flakes and clam juice and reduce by half on high heat for about 7-8 minutes.  The consistency should be chunky.  Remove bay leaves and turn off heat

Assemble the Dish

  1. Heat cataplana pot on stove top (medium flame), add oil, red pepper flakes, garlic, and saute 1 minute. Be careful not to let garlic burn
  2. Add mussels and clams first, followed by squid and conch. Add the onion and top with the Lisbon sauce, white wine, stew base, salt lightly, and stir to combine. Add tomato sauce.
  3. After stirring, top stew with fish. Top with fresh parsley. Put cataplana on high heat for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, and add shrimp and lemon wedges. Close the cataplana and let it stew for an additional 5 minutes
  4. Ladle into serving bowls with a nice piece of crusty bread

*Charred red peppers will keep in the refrigerator for a few days with the addition of 1 tbsp of lemon juice or red wine vinegar