Perfect Seafood Paella
A few years ago I studied abroad in Spain. A ridiculously beautiful medieval town on the Northern coast, it’s city center made almost entirely of massive rocks stacked one on top of the other. The restaurants in the town specialized in seafood with large aquariums in almost all of the store fronts.
One of the friends I made during that time was from Valencia. The birth place of paella. And well, all these years later I can’t forget his rant about paella being either land based or seafood based. The surf and turf variation to him was essentially sacrilegious.
For some reason I’ve been craving paella, the seafood variety. I’ve been craving it for weeks now, but couldn’t make it when I wanted for all sorts of reasons. Obstacles to my paella fantasy included random things like its Sunday so there will be n0 seafood at the the supermarket to my husband insisting “you can’t make paella just for the two of us” (don’t ask me why not… it’s his theory).
Anyways, a week day came around and I got to invite a friend over for dinner. We had one kick butt Spanish themed dinner with white Sangria before the meal followed by seafood paella.
Here’s the recipe. Enjoy and please do Feed Your Love!
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 sweet bell pepper, diced large (or cut into strips)
1 good pinch of saffron (approx. 0.125g)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
4 tbsp olive oil
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
300 g calamari squid cleaned and sliced
400 g (approx. 2 cups) paella rice
.70 liters (3 cups) fish broth, warmed
100 g (1/2 cup) green peas
1 white fish filet (approx. 200 grams), cubed
450 g (1lb) mussels
450 g (1 lb) clams
12 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
60 g (1/3 cup) crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp roughly chopped parsley
1 lemon, cut into wedges
salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Serves: 4-6 – Total Cook Time: Approx. 1 hr 30 min
1. In a large flat non stick pan that comes with lid heat onions, bell pepper, saffron, paprika and olive oil on medium for about 5 minutes, until onions begin to soften. Add calamari, rice and garlic and cook for a few more minutes until heated through.
2. Mix in tomatoes, broth, liquid from mussels (see below) and salt. Bring to a boil then cover and let simmer for package suggested cook time (about 20 minutes).
3. About 10 minutes to the end of cook time add green peas, and replace cover. Season fish and shrimp with salt and pepper. About 5 minutes to end of cook time add cubed fish and shrimp, replace cover.
4. Once cook time is up, check to see if rice is cooked. If not, add a little more water and return to fire as necessary.
5. Top with parsley, cooked clams, and mussels. Serve warm with lemon wedges.
Prep: Remove sand from mussels and clams (this has already been done for most industrially processed clams and mussels – ask fishmonger if in doubt). Debeard mussels. Discard any cracked or dead mussels. (Before cooking dead mussels are open and remain open even when tapped. When in doubt throw out is my policy – I’m sure you don’t want to give yourself or your friend food poisoning)
1. Add mussels to a medium pot. Cover and cook for approx. 5 minutes on medium high heat, until mussels open. Place in a separate bowl. Add clams to pot. Cook for about 2 minutes until they open. Place in a separate bowl.
2. Discard any mussels/clams that don’t open once cooked for a few minutes.
3. (You can skip this step if you so choose). Remove about half of mussel and clam meat from their shells. Makes eating paella easier, but leaves some of the shells for presentation.
4. Set aside 1 cup of the liquid released from the mussels and clams (which will be used as cooking liquid for the rice).