Swedish Seafood Casserole With Saffron


Saffron – used liberally in this Swedish seafood casserole - is a bit expensive but it is a vital ingredient in some Swedish types of food. I absolutely love the taste and smell of saffron and this dish is simply super-delicious and also light and really fresh.

We mostly buy it as ground saffron in Sweden and you actually have to ask for it when you get to the cashier in the food shops as it’s not kept on the shelves in the store. Precious cargo, indeed!

This Swedish seafood casserole does require a bit of chopping and slicing but once you have prepared everything, you can cook the broth well in advance and then finish it off quite quickly when you are ready to eat.

I add some Madeira wine to the broth as well to give it a more intense flavour but you don't have to do that.  

For 4 people:

25g, 1oz, 2 tablespoons, butter

1 small fennel bulb - shoots and root cut off, tough outer layer removed, halved; tough bottom core cut out of each half and the two halves then chopped finely

2 small or one large shallot, chopped finely

2 fat garlic cloves, crushed

150ml, 5floz, slightly less than ¾ cup, white wine (you should be happy to drink the wine you use for cooking)

50ml Madeira wine (optional)

1 heaped teaspoon of saffron threads

700ml, 1¼ pints, 3.1 cups, fish stock

100ml, 3½floz, ½ cup,  light crème fraiche

Salt and white pepper

1 medium sized carrot, cut into matchstick-sized batons

Handful of sugar snaps, cut into thin strips

1 red pepper (bell pepper), deseeded and cut into thin strips

10 cherry tomatoes, halved

4 salmon fillets without the skin - each fillet cut in half

16 - 20 raw king prawns, shelled

12 scallops

  1. Start by adding the saffron to the white wine. Melt the butter in a large pot over a low heat. Gently fry the fennel and shallot in the pot for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time to make sure it doesn't burn. Add the garlic to the pot and fry, stirring all the time, for a further minute
  2. Add the white wine and saffron - plus the Madeira wine if using - to the pot and bring it to a boil, turn down down the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes until the wine has reduced by about half.
  3.  Add the fish stock and crème fraiche and bring it back to a simmer. Season with salt and white pepper, and taste to make sure you are happy with the broth - the broth is the key to this Swedish seafood casserole! Allow the broth to simmer for a further 5 minutes.  (You can prepare this well in advance, cool it down and leave it covered in the fridge.)
  4. Heat up the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/400F. Once the oven is hot, add the prawns and the all the julienned vegetables to the pot with the broth and bring it back to a simmer for about 3 minutes. Give it a good stir a couple of times. Take the pot off the heat and cover with a lid to keep it warm. 

  5. Cover a baking tray with baking parchment. Season the salmon and scallops with salt and pepper and quickly sear them, in batches, in a hot frying pan - 1 minute on each side for the salmon and 1/2 a minute on each side for the scallops.  Place the seared salmon and scallops on the baking tray and place the tray in the oven for about 2 minutes. When the salmon and scallops are nearly done, quickly re-heat the broth with the prawns and vegetables.
  6. Divide the fish and scallops between 4 soup bowls and top with the prawns, vegetables and broth.


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