A few months’ ago I was in Barcelona. It was sunny, lively and the seafood was plentiful. While paella is not the city’s national dish (instead head to Valencia), there were still many restaurants serving paella. We unfortunately ate at a terrible restaurant (without previously looking at its reviews online) and their paella was the worst I have ever eaten. Far too salty which made it inedible and very little seafood.
Since coming back to Auckland, I made it a priority to buy a paella pan (I like this one) and to start making paella for my family and friends. First up is my ‘Simple Seafood Paella’. You can add literally add any seafood you like – whatever you have in the fridge or freezer.
This recipe is adapted from ‘The Food of Spain’ by Vicky Harris and John Newton.
1/2 cup white wine
1 red onion, chopped
12 mussels, bearded
Dash of olive oil
4 garlic gloves, crushed (using the back of your knife)
1 red capsicum, finely chopped
Salt and pepper for seasoning
1 cup paella rice
1 teaspoon tumeric (I use this instead of saffron threads as it is cheaper, but still gives it great colour and flavour)
2 cups chicken stock
200g prawns (shell on or off)
500g skinless firm white fish (I used gurnard), cut into pieces
250g salmon, cut into pieces
200g frozen mussels, thawed and cut in half
2 tablespoons of finely chopped Italian parsley
4 lemon wedges
1. Heat the wine and onion in a medium pot over high heat. Add the mussels, cover and gently shake the pan for 5-8 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain and reserve the liquid. Transfer the mussels to a bowl and keep warm in your pre-heated oven.
2. Heat oil in your paella pan (I used a 34cm induction paella pan). Add garlic and capsicum and cook for about 3 minutes (be careful not to burn it!). Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the reserved liquid (from the mussels), add the rice and stir again.
3. Add turmeric to hot chicken stock, then stir into rice mixture. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 10 to 12 minutes (or until the rice is cooked – make sure you taste!).
4. Put the white fish, salmon, prawns and thawed mussels on top of the rice. Stir them around, cover and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, turning over the rice once, until the rice is cooked and the seafood tender (again, have another taste!). Add the mussels for the last 5 minutes to further heat through. Take off the heat, and leave to rest for 5 minutes. Add the parsley and serve. Don’t forget a wedge of lemon on each dish!