The secret of a good “Caldero”

Caldero del Mar Menor is a wonderful regional fish and seafood rice dish from Southeastern Spain. Originating in Cabo de Palos, this dish relies on a concentrated fish stock to gives its flavor.

It’s one of the most popular meal at Miramar Restaurant in Cabo de Palos.

How to prepare

Serves: 4-6
Preparation time about 1 hour 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

For the caldero:
about 1 lb round Mediterranean rice (like Calaspara Bomba)
1 lb monkfish
about 1-2 lbs of variety of whole fresh fish like seabream, sea bass, red mullet, etc, cheaper fish is fine
2 ñoras or 2 ts sweet paprika
1/4 white wine
6 cloves garlic
1 onion chopped
2 tomatoes, peeled, finely chopped
3-4 stems of fresh-leaf parsley
5 TB olive oil

For the alioli:
1 egg yolk
1 ts lemon juice
1 ts dijon mustard
2 TB olive oil
5 TB extra virgin olive oil

DIRECTIONS

We begin by making the stock. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large stock pot. If you were able to find the ñoras, add them to the hot oil and cook for few minutes and then remove them (reserve them). Now add the fish heads to the hot oil and cook until they are brown. Remove the heads. Place the garlic (and cooked ñoras if you have them), in a pistol and mortar and grind them into a paste. Add the onion and garlic to the hot oil and cook for 2 minutes. Now add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Add the white wine and 140 oz. (18 cups) water to the pot. Add the parsley and bring to a boil. Roughly cut the fish into pieces and add to the stock. Cook the stock for 10-12 minutes or until the fish is done. Remove the fish (I reserve the monk fish, and discard the rest). Strain off the large chunks and make sure the bones are removed from the stock. Now add the rice and cook for about 20 minutes or until the rice is done. About 10 minutes before the rice is done, add the shrimp and reserved monk fish. Caldero is supposed to be a little soupy, so add a little more water if it gets too thick. Serve the caldero with a lemon wedge and the fresh alioli sauce.

For the alioli sauce:
Place the egg, lemon juice and mustard in a small bowl and beat together. Slowly add the regular olive oil in a stream and beat. Now add the extra virgin olive oil in a slow stream and beat. Beat the sauce until it thickens and enjoy!