A cataplana takes its name from the Moorish designed copper domed dish it was originally cooked in. The dish was first introduced into the Algarve region of Southern Portugal way back in the 8th century .The food was placed in the bowl shaped base and the domed top provided a sealed space for the ingredients to simmer and infuse. Today the cast iron cocotte is a perfect replacement for such a cooking pot. Ingredients for the cataplana vary from region to region with use of much artistic licence but the base of tomatoes, onions, wine and herbs remains the same. This recipe influenced by the Western Algarve style includes potatoes, firm white seasonal fish, seafood, peppers and a hint of chilli added to the base sauce. Serve traditionally straight from the cooking pot with crusty bread.
Firm white fish - Any mix of fish such as monkfish, bass, and mullet are suitable depending on availability.
Mussels - Clean the mussels and remove the beard, this is the weed like substance at the edge of the mussel. Discard any damaged or completely opened mussels.
Squid - The squid can be replaced by raw king prawns if preferred.
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