One-Pot Catalan Shrimp Zarzuela with Almond-Parsley Picada

PREP TIME: 10 minutes

COOK TIME: 15 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 25 minutes


May 2019

Fresh seafood abounds on Spain’s northern Mediterranean coast, and bubbling stews thick with shrimp, mussels and clams are a regional staple. Similar to the bouillabaisse of neighboring Marseille, this Catalan zarzuela gets a lift from a freshly made picada, a mix of chopped nuts, parsley and garlic that adds a buttery, bright flavor to the dish. A classic picada includes bread, but we’ve omitted it for this paleo and gluten-free version.


  • 10 ounces wild Gulf shrimp or wild tail-on jumbo shrimp
  • 1 organic yellow onion
  • 1 organic red bell pepper
  • 1 or 2 cloves organic peeled fresh garlic
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 ounce roasted almonds
  • 4 or 5 sprigs organic fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 organic lemon
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil


  • Garlic press or fine-toothed grater (optional)
  • Colander
  • Small bowl
  • Large sauce pot


1. Prep the zarzuela ingredients; cook the shrimp.

Rinse the shrimp, then drain on a paper towel-lined plate and pat dry. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Peel and coarsely chop enough onion to measure 1 cup. Remove the stem, ribs and seeds from the bell pepper; cut the pepper lengthwise into ½-inch-wide strips, then crosswise into ½-inch pieces. Finely chop, press or grate enough garlic to measure 2 teaspoons; divide into 2 equal portions and use half for the zarzuela and half for the picada.

In a large sauce pot over medium-high heat, warm 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil until hot but not smoking. Working in batches if needed, add the shrimp and cook, turning once, until firm and cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes per side for regular shrimp, 2 to 3 minutes per side for jumbo shrimp. Transfer to a plate. Add more oil between batches if needed. Wipe out the pot.

2. Cook the zarzuela.

In the same pot used for the shrimp, warm 1 to 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the onion and bell pepper, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is starting to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, half the garlic, paprika and 1½ cups water and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the sauce is slightly thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the shrimp and season to taste with salt and pepper.

While the zarzuela cooks, prepare the picada and lemon.

3. Make the picada; prep the lemon.

Finely chop the almonds. Strip the parsley leaves from the stems; finely chop the leaves. Cut the lemon into wedges for garnish.

In a small bowl, stir together the almonds, remaining garlic, parsley and 1 tablespoon of oil; season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Serve.

Transfer the shrimp zarzuela to individual bowls, top with the picada and serve with the lemon wedges.

Kids Can!

  • Measure the onion.
  • Press the garlic (if you have a press).
  • Strip the parsley leaves.
  • Stir the picada.
  • Spoon the picada on the stew.
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