Seafood Paella

If you’ve ever been lucky enough to walk around the food markets in Europe, you will know what I’m talking about when I say paella. The proper thing from
those gigantic pans that you can smell from a mile away!

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It’s hard to beat but think this recipe, from Dish magazine, comes close to the real thing. Especially when eaten off plates with a fish on them, a glass of Pikes wine and the sound of the ocean behind you.

The beauty of paella is that you can use whatever seafood is fresh at the time. This one has prawns, mussels and baby octopus but have made others with calamari rings, fish or even chicken and chorizo for those non-seafood lovers.

Seafood Paella

Ingredients
large pinch of saffron threads
3 tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves crushed garlic
1 red capsicum, diced
1/4 cup white wine
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
5 cups good quality fish stock
1 1/2 cups paella rice
20 prawns, tails on
12 mussels
5 baby octopus
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
lemon wedges
34cm paella pan

Method

  1. In a bowl, infuse saffron in bowl with 1/4 cup boiling water.
  2. In a separate bowl, cover tomatoes with boiling water for 5 minutes, remove skin and chop.
  3. Heat some of the oil in the paella pan, cook seafood for 2-3 minutes until coloured, then set to one side.
  4. Heat the remaining oil in the pan and add the onion, garlic and capsicum seasoning well with salt and pepper. Cook gently for 12-15 minutes until lightly coloured.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes, wine, saffron and soaking water and the paprika and cook for 3-4 minutes while stirring.
  6. Add 4 and a half cups of the stock and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.
  7. Sprinkle the rice evenly into the pan and cook over medium heat without stirring for 15 minutes or until the rice at the top still has a little ‘bite’.
  8. Push the prawns and baby octopus into the rice with the mussels and cook for further 7-10 minutes to cook through seafood (this will also allow time for the mussels to open properly – if they are too slow opening, cover with tinfoil to speed up cooking). Discard any that haven’t opened.
  9. Remove the pan from the heat, cover with tinfoil (if you can’t already) and leave to rest of 10 minutes.
  10. Sprinkle parsley and serve straight from the pan with lemon wedges and good crusty bread.

Note: the remain 1/2 cup stock can be heated to a simmer and added with seafood if the rice appears to be drying out too much. It shouldn’t, however, be soupy like risotto.

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