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Cataplana dos Açores – Azores Fish Casserole

Cataplana dos Açores – Azores Fish Casserole

by Maria Pacheco

Origins of Cataplana

The Cataplana is a traditional Portuguese dish that is believed to have originated in the Algarve region of Portugal, which is located in the southernmost part of the country. The name “cataplana” actually refers to the copper pot in which the dish is cooked, which is similar to a Dutch oven or a wok.

The dish is thought to have been created by fishermen, who would cook their daily catch along with locally available ingredients like tomatoes, peppers, onions, and garlic in the cataplana pot. Over time, the dish became a staple of the region’s cuisine and spread throughout the country.

Today, there are many variations of the cataplana dish, and it is often made with a variety of seafood, meats, and vegetables, depending on the region and the season. In addition to the Algarve region, the dish is also popular in the Azores, another Portuguese archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean.

Recipe for Cataplana from Azores


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 500g mixed seafood (such as clams, shrimp, mussels, and fish)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Fresh parsley, chopped


  1. In a large cataplana or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the chopped onion and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, red and green peppers, and bay leaf. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and fragrant.
  4. Add the seafood, wine, paprika, salt, and black pepper to the pot. Stir to combine.
  5. Cover the cataplana and cook over medium heat for 10-12 minutes, or until the seafood is cooked through and the clams and mussels have opened.
  6. Discard any unopened clams and mussels.
  7. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve hot with crusty bread.

Enjoy your delicious Cataplana from Azores!

Joe Portugal - Chef