Seafood Paella

Paella is a one of the world's most famous rice dishes, and this version is a seafood extravaganza. My distant cousin's wife is morrocan and she makes it so well.
Traditionally, paella is prepared in a
paellera (a wide, shallow pan with looped handles) and cooked over an outdoor fire. However, a large shallow frying pan makes an acceptable substitute.



1 red onion
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
2 ripe tomatoes
16 large shrimps, deveined
2 squid tubes, cut into rings
12 fresh mussels
Plenty of extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons paprika
1&1/2 cup medium-grain rice
3 cups of heated fish or chicken stock
pinch of saffron
1&1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 a cup of defrosted green peas
Lemon wedges


1- Finely chop 1 red onion, dice 1 red and 1 green pepper, finely chop 4 cloves of garlic, and finely chop 2 tablespoons of fresh flat-leaf parsley.

2- Using a box grater, puree 2 ripe tomatoes, discarding the skin. Alternatively you can use a cup of canned peeled tomatoes mashed with a fork.

3- Peel and devein 16 large raw shrimp, cut 2 squid tubes into rings, and scrub and debeard 12 fresh mussels. Cover and refrigerate.

4- Start making the sofarito which is a Spanish tomato and onion sauce used as a flavor base for a variety of dishes. Heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in the paella pan over a medium heat and cook the chopped red onion, 2 tablespoons of parsley and 3 of the chopped garlic cloves for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the pureed tomatoes and 2 teaspoons of paprika and cook until all the liquid from the tomatoes has evaporated and the sofrito has the consistency of jam. Transfer the sofrito to a small bowl and wipe clean the paella pan.

5- While the sofrito is cooking, place the mussels in a saucepan with half a cup of simmering water. Cover and steam on a low heat for 5 minutes. Remove mussels and set aside, discarding any that haven't opened.

6- Heat 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in the paella pan over a medium-high heat. Add the remaining clove of chopped garlic and the shrimp and cook for 1½ minutes, tossing continuously. Add the squid rings and cook for a further 1½ minutes. Remove the shrimp and squid from the paella pan and lightly season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and set aside.

7- Heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in the paella pan over a medium heat and cook the diced red and green peppers for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

8- Add the sofrito back to the pan along with 1&1/2 cups rice and cook for a minute, stirring to coat the grains.

9- Add 3 cups of heated fish or chicken stock, a pinch of saffron, 1&1/2 teaspoons sea salt and ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Stir to combine, and bring to a rolling simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, uncovered without stirring. (To make sure the rice cooks evenly you will need to regularly move the paella pan around the heat source)

10- Lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for a further 15 minutes without stirring. After 15 minutes, turn the heat up to medium-high for a minute or so until you can smell the rice toasting at the bottom, then remove the paella pan from the heat. (The toasted rice bottom of a paella is called socorrat and is highly prized.)

11- Push the reserved shrimp, mussels and squid into the cooked rice, and scatter with half a cup of defrosted green peas. Cover the pan with foil or a clean cloth, and let the paella rest for 5 minutes.

12- Present the paella in the pan at the table with lemon wedges on the side for drizzling.


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