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"Ecstasy" Creamy Seafood Stew with Crawfish and Scallops

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This creamy, delicious seafood stew boasts everything. It's got flavor, aroma, good looks, and is completely satisfying!

Full disclosure - this stew is absurdly insatiable so you'll want to make more than what you think is enough. The coconut sauce brings the next level of creaminess, while the Trinidadian-based flavor base provides character and complexity. Net net you get a seafood stew that marries Cuban and Trinidadian flavor for a Caribbean fusion recipe.

The base recipe makes it compatible with any kind of seafood or non-seafood for that matter, but I used a combination of scallops and crawfish cooked in coconut sauce. The scallops add a gourmet element and provide the satiety element, but the crawfish makes the dish fun, accessible, and brings texture plus a bit more character to the stew.

seafood stew in white bowl with rice

MOOD MUSIC

This dish was inspired by a Cuban dish that I had some years ago. It was shrimp stewed in a rich coconut sauce and served over rice. I swapped the shrimp with crawfish and scallops then added a sofrito-type sauce grounded in Trinidadian cuisine. The end result is straight "ecstasy" like the song. It's got flavor and just puts you in a happy mood.

Seafood Stew Ingredients

As I mentioned earlier, this is a versatile dish. Once you master the coconut broth, then you can pretty much add any seafood ingredient and things will be just fine, actually better than fine. For the dish you'll need the following ingredients:

For The Seafood Stew

  • Scallops
  • Crawfish Tails
  • Bell Peppers
  • White Onion Half
  • Garlic Cloves
  • Coconut Milk
  • Lime Juice
  • Paprika
  • Allspice
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Bay Leaf (optional)

For the Trinidadian Seasoning Base

  • Trinidad Chili Pepper (feel free to substitute habenero chili pepper)
  • Green Onions
  • White Onion Half
  • Fresh Ginger
  • Garlic Cloves
  • Cilantro
  • Lime Juice
  • Fresh Mint Leaf
  • Kosher or Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper

How To Make This Seafood Stew

Start by marinating the seafood. This is simply mixing the seafood in lime juice, salt, and pepper. 30 minutes is more than enough time. Any longer and you'll have ceviche.

While the seafood is marinating, make the Trinidadian seasoning base by placing the chili pepper, fresh herbs, ginger, garlic, onion, and green onions in a food processor and pureeing them to a coarse salsa-like consistency. Set aside.

Mix your dry spices together in a small bowl or ramekin.

Heat olive oil in a saucepan/skillet and once heated add the bell peppers, extra garlic, and the white onion sauteing for 3-5 minutes. For the last minute or two add half the spices.

Add the paste to the skillet and cook another.5 minutes on low.

Add coconut milk, remaining spices, and bay leaf if using then stir constantly until it thickens. This should take about 5-6 minutes.

Add seafood to the sauce. Cover and cook on low 5-10 minutes or so. Serve over rice topped with fresh parsley or fresh thyme for garnishing.

seafood stew in white pan

Seafood Stew Recipe Notes and Considerations

  • Don't get hung up on the seafood ingredients. Choose what you like and try to buy the freshest available. Pretty much all seafood works including fish and clams/mussels.
  • Allspice and Paprika are part of a base spice mix I use for most recipes. The allspice is in line with the Caribbean vibe, but don't feel wed to it. If there are other spices you prefer feel free.
  • Trinidadian chilil peppers pack some serious heat so tread lightly! Wear gloves when handling them and if fire ain't your thing remove the seeds and veins from the chili to have a more enjoyable experience.
  • Heating spices brings out their flavor even more so definitely keep this step. By the time you add the coconut milk the combination of warmed spices and aromatic vegetables will infuse the coconut with tremendous amount of flavor.
  • Add the seafood last. Whichever you choose, but especially shellfish, will not need much time to cook.Just keep in mind, meaty fish will require a longer cook time.
  • If using fish, I recommend cutting into chunks and as evenly as possilbe to ensure equal more uniform cooking.
  • The sauce/broth will thicken throughout the cooking process so be mindfull. The longer it cooks, then the thicker it gets.
  • If you prefer a bit of heat in the dish. Drop a few of the seeds from the chili peppers or sprinkle in some red pepper flakes.
  • Serve this with a nice piece of your favorite crusty bread.
seafood stew in white bowl with rice

Making Seafood Stew Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Type of Scallops Are Best For Seafood Stew?

Scallops of all sizes will work in this stew. I don't recommend the jumbo super large ones given their size and costs. But you can buy a smaller amount of the larger ones and then cut them in half. All the others work well as their small enough to fit in a spoonful.

Can I Use Frozen Crawfish?

Yes, and I actually recommend it. For one crawfish is seasonal so you're really limited in terms of being able to find fresh crawfish. Two - the hassle of peeling them is not worth it for this stew recipe. By the frozen crawfish tails that most grocery stores have near their fresh seafood section.

Can I Use Heavy Cream Instead of Coconut Milk?

Yes you can. It will provide similar creaminess and smoothness to the dish. However, the flavor profile will be much different. You'll lose the sweet coconut flavor and along with that the Caribbean vibe. This is one where I strongly encourage you to make that trip to the grocery store if you don't have coconut milk on hand.

How Do You Thicken Seafood Stew?

The coconut milk is really the only thickener you'll need. The longer you simmer it, then the thicker it will get. If this doesn't work for you then you can always make a "slurry" with water and potato or corn starch. Just simply mix a spoonful of starch in a cup of water and stir it well before slowly adding it to your soup.

What Other Seafood Options Do You Recommend?

I love mussels or clams in this dish! Obviously, shrimp is the easy button. Just be careful with shrimp. You don't want to add it the cooking pot too soon, as you can easily overcook them. I haven't tried it yet, but I'd think squid would also be a great addition. If you'd prefer to add fish, meaty white fish like grouper, halibut, or snapper would be excellent. I always buy too much cod, so use seafood stew to make use of it vs. allowing it to go bad.

Can You Make Seafood Stew In A Crock Pot?

What can't you make in a crockpot! However, just because you can, doesn't mean you should in this case. This is a quick, easy, no-fuss recipe. There is no compelling reason for you to cook this any other way besides the traditional stovetop.

What Goes Well With Seafood Stew?

I prefer to eat this stew with rice. If you're not tired of all the coconut, serve it over coconut ginger rice. I also like to have Cuban black beans on hand plus a collard greens salad. Chase it with a Cuba Libre Cocktail.

For Other Seafood Stew Recipes

Mexican Seafood Stew

Shrimp Stew

Colombian Seafood Stew (Cazuela de Mariscos)

Brazilian Fish Stew (Moqueca)

Shrimp and Chorizo Soup

Red Snapper Braised in Coconut Sauce

Shrimp and Corn Chowder

Black Eyed Pea Salad with Crawfish

For other scallop recipes try these:

Smoked Scallops

Pan-Seared Scallops with Coffee Vinaigrette

Scallops with Pear Cream Sauce

Make this recipe

If you make this Cuban-inspired seafood stew, please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.

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seafood stew in white bowl with rice

Seafood Stew with Scallops and Crawfish

Creamy, Cuban inspired seafood stew with scallops and crawfish tail in coconut sauce.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Cuban
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 278kcal
Author: Marwin Brown

Ingredients

Stew Ingredients:

  • 6-8 scallops
  • 12 oz Crawfish tails
  • Lime Juice
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 2 Cups Coconut Milk

Trinidadian Seasoning Base Mix Ingredients:

  • Chili pepper Habanero, Scotch Bonnet, Trinidad Scorpion
  • 6 green onions
  • 1 small Onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Small Piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 small Fresh Mint leaf
  • ¼ cup Fresh Cilantro leaves
  • 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon Black pepper

Instructions

  • Marinate the seafood in lime juice, salt, and pepper for 30 minutes.
  • While the seafood is marinating, make the Trinidadian paste by placing the chili pepper, fresh herbs, ginger, garlic, onion, and green onions in a food processor and pureeing them to a coarse salsa like consistency. Set aside.
  • Mix your dry spices together in a small bowl or ramekin.
  • Heat olive oil in a saucepan/skillet and once heated add the bell peppers, extra garlic, and the white onion sauteing for 3-5 minutes. For the last minute or two add half the spices.
  • Add the Trinidadian paste to the skillet and cook another 5 minutes on low.
  • Add coconut milk and remaining spices stirring constantly until it thickens. This should take about 5-6 minutes.
  • Add seafood to the sauce. Cover and cook on low 5-10 minutes or so. Serve over rice topped with more fresh herbs.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • Don't get hung up on the seafood ingredients. Choose what you like and try to buy the freshest available. Pretty much all seafood works including fish and clams/mussels.
  • Allspice and Paprika are part of a base spice mix I use for most recipes. The allspice is in line with the Caribbean vibe, but don't feel wed to it. If there are other spices you prefer feel free.
  • Trinidadian chilil peppers pack some serious heat so tread lightly! Wear gloves when handling them and if fire ain't your thing remove the seeds and veins from the chili to have a more enjoyable experience.
  • Heating spices brings out their flavor even more so definitely keep this step. By the time you add the coconut milk the combination of warmed spices and aromatic vegetables will infuse the coconut with tremendous amount of flavor.
  • Add the seafood last. Whichever you choose, but especially shellfish, will not need much time to cook.Just keep in mind, meaty fish will require a longer cook time.
  • If using fish, I recommend cutting into chunks and as evenly as possilbe to ensure equal more uniform cooking.
  • The sauce/broth will thicken throughout the cooking process so be mindfull. The longer it cooks, then the thicker it gets.
  • If you prefer a bit of heat in the dish. Drop a few of the seeds from the chili peppers or sprinkle in some red pepper flakes.
  • Serve this with a nice piece of your favorite crusty bread.

Nutrition

Calories: 278kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 21g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 410mg | Potassium: 472mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 526IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 5mg
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Recipe Rating




Alex

Sunday 17th of October 2021

How I wish we had crawfish here! I'm from Texas but live in Munich. We are lacking in a lot of foods here. ;) If I ever make it back to Texas, I know what I'll be making!

Heidy Linn

Sunday 17th of October 2021

This Creamy Seafood Stew with Crawfish and Scallops Recipe was so fantastic. The flavors were on point, and I enjoyed it so much. This Creamy Seafood Stew with Crawfish and Scallops recipe is a keeper. I will be making it again, looking forward to your following recipe! Have a great day!

Matt

Sunday 17th of October 2021

I never know what to do with scallops and always pass them up at the store. This recipe is a perfect use for them. Thanks!

Nart

Sunday 17th of October 2021

Best seafood stew recipe ever! Loved the flavor of all the seafood, spices and coconut milk!

Tristin

Saturday 16th of October 2021

The flavors in this seafood stew are making my mouth water. The coconut milk and the hint of spice with all that seafood…yessss! Can’t wait to eat this!!