Introduction: Seafood Paella
Seafood Paella is an alternative recipe of the popular Paella from Valencia that both Spanish locals and tourists enjoy a lot.
Step 1: Ingredients (for 2-3 People)
200g Rice (80-100g per person) preferably round
100-200g Monkfish in 3x3 cm pieces (hake as second option)
6 Prawns, crust and head included
3 Small squids with their tentacles
1 Green pepper
1 Red pepper
50g green peas
500ml fish and/or seafood broth (cloud also be just water)
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Turmeric
1 Garlic clove
A few Saffron strands (add to taste)
1 pinch Salt
A few comments on the ingredients:
- You can go completely freestyle when it comes to the varieties of fish and seafood as long as they are still raw. If they are previously cooked, they won't transfer the taste to the rice. It is all about preserving the taste and smell of the sea. Everything according to your taste or availability.
- When it comes to fish, its meat should be dense and continuous so that it doesn't crumble when cooking the paella (e.g. salmon will come appart). The best fish for this purpose are monkfish or hake.
- The squids should be cut into rings after removing the tentacles which will be kept completely (do not forget to remove the inner shell and the bag with the ink)
Step 2: Seafood Cooking
- Cover the bottom of a frying pan with a thin layer of olive oil and heat it up (heat level 8 in a scale from 1 to 10).
- Fry all the seafood stirring frequently. The raw prawns will now turn pink/orange and all mussels and clams must have opened. If a bivalve remains closed, it means that it was dead and you should remove it from the pan. Do not try to open them.
Step 3: Vegetable Cooking
- Remove the seafood from the oil and leave it aside.
- In the same pan add now the onion, peppers, turmeric, garlic and a little fish broth (100ml).
- Cook everything at medium temperature for 5-8 minutes or until soft. It is necessary to dissolve all that is left at the bottom of the pan after friying the seafood in order to gather all the taste and incorporate it into the rice.
Step 4: Final Cooking
- Now add the rice, the previously fried seafood, the pieces of raw fish, paprika, saffron and the rest of the broth. It is important to keep the volumetric ratio: 3 portions of broth / 1 portion of rice. Most people use a glass or cup as reference to make it easier.
- Add a pinch of salt. Play it safe here, the seafood and spices have a lot of taste and add a salty feeling to the Paella.
- Cook the paella at medium-low heat ((heat level 4 in a scale from 1 to 10) until the rice is cooked. Depending on the type of rice and heat power used, the process may take about 20-30 minutes. Check the hardness of the rice, especially at the center of the grain because it can still be hard. In case of needing to cook it a bit longer, add a little broth or water if there's no liquid left in the pan.
- The tradition is to toast the rice at the bottom by heating up the pan at the end of the cooking, but be careful, you can ruin al the work if you burn it!
Step 5: Ready to Eat!
If there are any leftovers, keep them for the day after, it will taste even better because it's a preparation that gets better with some rest.
Step 6: Some Extra Notes
The ratio between the amount of rice and the size of the pan is also important but rarely considered. The height of the layer of cooked rice can not be more than 2-2.5 cm. If it is higher, the upper part of the rice will not be cooked. In the picture above you can see how people scale it up, by getting a larger pan, not a deeper one.
Another important factor is the distribution of heat across the bottom of the pan. You should make sure that the entire surface is heated, not just the central part. So I strongly recomend to use a pan that has a heat diffussor.
The preparation of the fish broth is simply made from leftover fish and vegetables. If when at the shop, while they are cleaning the fish, they ask you is you want to take home the head and bones, you should say yes. You can freeze it and, after collecting a few of them, you need to cook them in a pot with water for 2-3 hours. Then strain it. You can freeze it in portions of 300-400 ml and use in the future for any fish recipes (paella, fish soup...)
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