Portuguese seafood ragout.

Know how to cook cataplana from Algarve!

Today we will cook cataplana, a Portuguese seafood dish originally from the Algarve region. For seafood and healthy food lovers it is an ideal option to diversify their diet.

Actually cataplana is the name of a special dish in which the seafood cataplana is prepared. As it turned out, a pot similar to the current cataplana was brought to Algarve by the Moors in the VIII-IX centuries.

Cataplana is a spherical saucepan, which consists of two parts. It is used for cooking fish and seafood dishes. Food in cataplana is steamed, which allows you to cook dishes in ingredients´ own juice and get the maximum of its taste.

Cataplana pot
Cataplana com vinho verde

Important components of cataplana are small-boned fish such as monkfish, hake (some people like to add salmon), shellfish, shrimp and mussels. I like improvising, so I also added mantis shrimp. To dive more into the Portuguese cuisine I used Portuguese wine (dry greenish slightly sparkling wine). It is also great to take it with the cataplana dish itself. You can use a regular white wine as well.

For 4 persons you will need:

– Fish (monkfish, hake…) about 400 g.

– Clams 250 g.

– Mussels (2-3 per person)

– Shrimps 2-3 per person

– Mantis shrimp optional (1-2 per person)

– 1 onion

– 3 tomatoes

– 1 small green pepper

– 1 small red pepper

– 3 garlic cloves

– 2 bay leaves

– Fresh parsley

– Spices to taste: sweet red pepper, black pepper, salt

– 1 glass of white wine


Before cooking: if clams are fresh (alive), add them to a slightly salted water for 60 minutes, so they can release sand in them. Then wash them with clean cold water. If the water remains very dirty, change it several times. Finally, rinse the clams thoroughly with cold water.

Clean mussels with a knife under cold running water, take off the green part with a rapid movement.

Peel the shrimps, leaving the heads (cut off the part with the eyes and antennae with scissors).

Cut cleaned fish into pieces, remove the bones.

Peel the tomatoes and chop them into squares. Chop the onion into half rings, chop the pepper into strips. Chop garlic.

I did not purchase a special cataplana pot and cooked cataplana in a regular saucepan. Add about 5 tablespoons of olive oil into it, heat it. Fry onion until golden, about 5 minutes. Take half of the onion and set aside.

Add garlic. Put the clams and pieces of fish on top of the onion. Add a pinch of salt.

Add red sweet pepper, black pepper to taste, and finely chopped parsley.

Add the rest of onions, tomatoes and peppers. Add salt to taste.

Add shrimps, mussels and mantis shrimp. Pour a glass of white wine.

Cover with a pot lid and let cook on low heat for 30 minutes.

Cataplana can be served with rice or boiled potatoes. And, of course, an ideal way to enjoy it is with a glass of white or sparkling wine.

Bom apetite!