Probably the most famous dish of Spanish gastronomy, paella is also a bit complicated to cook if this is your first time trying this really tasty dish. Anyway it is unavoidable to have a first time for everything, right? We will be with you helping you to cook a really nice and typical Spanish seafood paella.
We want to remark that there are many variants of “paella”, being the most typical the seafood paella and the Valencian paella (chicken paella). Nevertheless, paella never had chorizo as ingredient! It is fine if you like chorizo in paella, but you should know that if somebody is trying to “sell” you some paella with chorizo, they are scamming you if they say it is the traditional Spanish paella! 😜
Ingredients of “seafood paella”
- 500 g / 1.1 lb of rice (preferably the “bomba rice” type);
- 2 cloves of garlic;
- 3 ripe tomatoes;
- ½ medium red pepper;
- ½ medium green pepper;
- 1 medium onion;
- 1 sprig parsley;
- 3 ñoras. This is a typical vegetable from the Spanish region of paella (Valencia). If you don’t have “ñoras” in your groceries store, you can change it for two teaspoons of paprika;
- Some saffron strands (around 20 g / 0.7 ounces);
- 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika;
- Extra virgin olive oil (approximately 70 ml. / 0.14 pint);
- 150 g / 0.33 lb squid rings;
- 150 g /0.33 lb shrimps;
- 5 medium langoustines;
- 250 g / 0.55 lb mussels;
- 300 g / 0.66 lb of clean monkfish;
- Salt (to taste);
- 5 l / 3 pints of fish broth;
- Paella pan (known as “paellera” in Spanish) big enough. More information down below. (BTW, we are aware this is not an ingredient… 😝 but it is highly recommended to use this kind of pan for cooking seafood paella).
Let’s go with the recipe of the seafood paella!
Before starting to cook the seafood paella
- It is essential to have the paella pan ready and, if possible, with various previous uses (it helps the rice not to stick if the paella pan is not brand new). The size of the paella pan is important, since it allows the rice to be cooked evenly over its entire surface.
- To make it nice and tasty, the amount of rice over the surface of the paella pan should not be much thicker than a finger. Therefore, to make a paella for six people (for example) we will need a paella pan about half a meter (20 inches) in diameter. This is the first big problem that arises when trying to make the dish at home.
- If you don’t have firewood and a nice fire made with orange tree wood, you will need a good gas burner or temperature diffuser in order to reach the whole surface of the paella.
- In case of needing to increase the quantity of ingredients, it will be necessary to increase the size of the paella pan. The appropriate measures are the following:
- 2-3 persons- Paella pan of 30 cm. (12 inches)
- 4-5 people- Paella pan of 40 cm. (16 inches);
- 6-8 people- Paella pan of 50 cm. (20 inches);
- For 10 people- Paella pan of 55 cm. (22 inches);
- For 12 people- Paella pan of 60 cm. (24 inches).
Preparing the seafood for the seafood paella
- Clean the mussels well under the water tap. Using a knife, scrape off the impurities and remove the beards that protrude from the area where the shells meet.
- Discard those mussels that are broken or open. Fresh mussels should be open a millimetre or two and should close when you try to open them.
- Place a glass of water and the mussels in a large pot. Put them to boil with high heat and cover them. As soon as it starts to boil, we can leave them two minutes to strong fire (without removing the cover) or we can start removing those that are starting to open.
- Drain the mussels and set them aside to mix with the broth that we are going to add to the paella.
- Clean the squidfish. If you buy clean squid rings, you will only have to wash and set them aside.
- Clean the barbs of the prawns and clean the monkfish if necessary. Set them aside.
Preparing the fish and vegetables for the seafood paella
- Clean, dry and cut the vegetables. Peel the cloves of garlic and then cut the peppers into long strips, the onion into very small pieces and the garlic into super small pieces.
- It is good if you can use a mortar to crush and mix them. On this way you will notice the flavor but not the texture.
- Pour almost all the extra virgin olive oil in the paella pan and heat it with very strong fire.
- Let’s start with the sauté of the vegetables (garlic, pepper and onion) that we have chopped in order to cook the base of this paella.
- Firstly add the garlic to the very hot olive oil in the paella pan. When it starts browning a little bit, pour the rest of vegetables on this order: onion, red pepper and green pepper.
- Fry everything until it is poached. When the vegetables are ready, pour the salt. It is necessary pay attention to the fire so your paella doesn’t get burn!
- Add the squid to the vegetables in the paella pan.
Preparing the sauce of ñoras (change them for some additional paprika if necessary!) and we pour the rice
- Cut the tomatoes in half, discarding their skin and grate them. Set aside for the ñora sauce.
- For the sauce, sauté the ñoras, the saffron, a teaspoon of sweet paprika and the pulp of the tomatoes in another saucepan with a little extra virgin olive oil. Set it aside.
- If you don’t like the skin of the ñora you only have to leave them in hot water for half an hour and remove their pulp.
- We add the rice in the paella pan and distribute it evenly over it.
- Then we pour the sauce of ñoras in the paella pan until it is fully integrated with the rest of ingredients.
Preparing the fish broth
- Heat the fish broth in a casserole (or in the microwave). The broth can be substituted with just water, but the flavor of the paella will be far more anodyne; in this case we can make half of the broth to be chicken broth so that our paella has a tastier flavor.
- Add the broth into the paella pan. It is better to stay short than to overdo it, because we can always add some more water if we see that the rice is too dry and it is not ready to serve yet.
- The proportions of broth depend a lot on the fire, the heat, the degree of humidity and the diameter of the paella. We need three times the volume of liquid than rice.
- Cook the broth with the rest of ingredients in the paella pan for 15 minutes. It is a good moment to try the broth in order to know if it is tasty enough, and to be able to correct it with salt if necessary.
- We want to make it tasty for everyone, so it is essential that at least 2 people try the broth, so you find some consensus on this regard.
Preparing the rice of the seafood paella
- We cook everything for 18-20 minutes, although the time will be marked by the grain of rice and the power of the fire. The rice must be completely dry and loose.
- We taste a few grains of rice and the point of salt again to verify the flavor.
- You can have a saucepan with boiling water on the side, in case you need to add water.
- During the last 5 minutes before finishing to cook the seafood paella, add the pieces of monkfish and the seafood that we have reserved (langoustines and prawns), except for the mussels, which are already cooked and will adorn the paella.
- Let it rest for a few minutes covered with a large cotton cloth. Once the rice is ready, remove the paella pan from the fire.
- 5-8 minutes out of the fire will be enough to achieve a tasty result. This time is fundamental so that the grain of rice takes its suitable point and is well loose.
- Before serving, place the open mussels on top of the rice. And that’s it!
- ¡Buen provecho! 😊