Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Seafood Paella

Finally! Here it is. A Seafood Paella recipe, that has been long requested for. Everyone has their own Paella recipe. There is always a debate on how a paella should be— caldoso (wet, with more broth) or on the drier side, whether it should have more rice or less rice, what combination of ingredients go in…  So make this recipe your own. Add chicken and rabbit to it, and it'll become a Paella Valenciana. Add chorizo and a meat of your choice and enjoy a Meat Paella. Or just use vegetables of your choice, and you have a Paella Vegetariana. Have fun while making it, it's one of those dishes, that once you know the basic of how-to, you can vary it and make it so many different ways. 

We have been spending the summer in Spain, the quality of the seafood here is incredible— leaving us with mostly grilling fish with salt and pepper, nada mas! With our cousins visiting us for the summer here in Spain, it has been fun re-making most of the earlier recipes in this blog with them. This morning, I missed making something new, something that wasn't a recipe I've made before. So I looked up my favorite Spanish chef ever, José Andres, and found this video on YouTube. The recipe looks delicious (after all, it is José Andres's recipe), simple and quick. The part that attracted me most to it, is that it involved minimal chopping. The comments on YouTube said otherwise, (a Paella recipe must be controversial!) but we absolutely loved the paella, and so did the rest of the people who ate it with me. 

Recipe adapted from Chef José Andres
Serves 2

8 mussels
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
Saffron, a generous pinch
3 cups water

1 medium onion, cut into chunks
1 medium tomato, cut into chunks
1 medium red pepper, cut into chunks
4–6 large cloves of garlic
4 guindillas, or dried red chillies (adjust to your spice level)

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 sticks thyme
1 teaspoon orange food coloring

Salt, to taste  

150 gms fish, such as sea bass, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 langostinos, shell on or 8 large shrimps, shell on
1 1/2 cups paella rice
6 sticks asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges


  1. In a medium saucepan, boil the mussels with the bay leaf, olive oil, saffron, in 3 cups of water, for 5 minutes.
  2. While the mussels boil, puree the onion, tomato, red pepper, garlic, and red chillies. 
  3. Drain the mussels, discarding the ones that did not open. Reserve the liquid (seafood broth). Remove the meat of the mussels and discard the shells. 
  4. In a paella pan (for two) heat the olive oil. When smoking hot, add the onion-tomato puree. Fry for no more than 2 minutes Add the thyme and orange food coloring. 
  5. Add seafood broth, season with salt, to taste, and bring to a boil. Add water till the top of the pan. Let it boil for 5–10 minutes,until it is reduced by a quarter. After this step, you do not mix the paella, ever! 
  6. Add the shelled mussels, the fish, and the langostinos or shrimp.
  7. Immediately add the rice, scattered evenly through the pan. Let it cook for 10 minutes.
  8. Add the asparagus, check for doneness, and serve, garnished with lemon wedges.