Recipe: Spanish Seafood Paella
Paella is commonly referred to as one of Spain’s national dishes, though more specifically it is a regional specialty of Valencia. Originally, the dish was made using chicken, rabbit, snails and three kinds of fresh beans. As paella became a more popular dish across Spain, endless recipes based on local ingredients have been created. Feel free to be creative and add vegetables you have on hand or even swap the seafood for chorizo or chicken. No matter how you make this versatile dish, it is the perfect meal to prepare for an evening with friends.
1 large onion, finely chopped
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste or finely chopped
2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup fresh or frozen green peas
1 teaspoon pimentón dulce (or sweet paprika)
A good pinch of saffron threads
1/2 lbs of cleaned small squid, bodies sliced into 1/4-inch-wide rings, tentacles left whole (You can substitute with white fish or Spanish chorizo if desired.)
2 cups medium-grain Spanish paella rice or risotto rice, such as Arborio or Carnaroli
3 cups fish or chicken stock, plus more if needed
1 cup dry white wine
12 jumbo shrimp in their shells
1. Fry the onion in the oil in a 16-inch paella pan until soft, stirring often.
2. Stir in the garlic, and before it begins to color, add the tomatoes.
3. Add salt to taste, pimentón (or paprika), and saffron, stir well, and cook until the tomatoes are reduced to a jammy sauce and the oil is sizzling.
4. Add the squid (or substitue) and cook, stirring, for a minute or so.
5. Add the rice and stir well until all the grains are coated.
6. Bring the stock and wine to a boil in a saucepan then pour over the rice. Bring paella pan to a boil, and add salt to taste (even if the broth tastes a bit salty, it will not be salty when it is absorbed by the rice). Stir well and spread the rice out evenly in the pan (do not stir again).
7. Cook the rice over low heat for 18 to 20 minutes, moving the pan around and rotating it so that the rice cooks evenly.
8. Stir in peas and then lay the shrimp on top after 10 minutes and turn them when they have become pink on the first side. Add a little more hot stock toward the end if the rice seems too dry and you hear crackly frying noises before it is done.
9. When the rice is done, turn off the heat and cover the pan with a large piece of foil.
10. Steam the mussels in a pan with a tight-fitting lid.
11. As soon as they open, they are cooked. Throw away any that have not opened.
12. Arrange the mussels on top of the paella.