One evening a few year ago, when Chau and I were wandering down Restaurant Row in New York. Cam left early in the morning back to Oregon attended one of his best friends graduation. In a very short strip of land, restaurants lining up and there was a rep. standing in front to advertise and greet people passing by. No surprisely, we chose the restaurant because the front door advertisable attractive lady instead of the cook or anything else. Paella, a classic Spanish dish with a special pan to cook was one of dishes we ate there. I use my largest pan (12 in. here)
Ready to try seafood Paella, world’s most delicious 50 food per CNN travel. Paella is a festive looked party dish to please the eyes. If you do not like seafood, there is mixed Paella too. Come back someday and we learn it together.
Make 6-8 servings
1 tsp saffron threads, loosely packed
3.5 cups fish stock or shrimp flavored chicken stock
1 small yellow onion or shallot (4 oz.)
1 very large or 2 small ripe tomatoes (12 oz. total)
4-5 Tbs olive oil
8 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed about 2 Tbs
1 tsp. sweet or smoke hot paprika
Kosher salt, ground black pepper
12 large (31 to 40 per lb.) shrimp, peeled with tail segment left intact and deveined (reserve the shells)
1 lb. mussels, remove the beard, scrubbed and rinsed well
1 lb clamp, scrubbed and rinsed well
1.5 cups Spanish bomba rice or 2 cups arborio
1 lb sea scallops, side muscles removed
1/2 lb calamari (squid), peeled, rinsed, and cut body tubes into 1/2 in. ring, keep tentacles whole with beads and eyes removed.
1 roasted red pepper, cut into 1/2 in. wide trips or 1/2 in squares (optional)
1/2 cup frozen pea (optional)
A few green onion, thinly sliced or flat leave parley, coarsely chopped to garnish
1 medium lemon, sliced or cut in wedges
1. Clean the seafood.
Shell the shrimp and leave the tail segment left intact and deveined (reserve the shells and add to boiling broth to get the shrimp flavor at this time). Toss shrimp with 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp crush garlic, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper, and 1/4 tsp paprika. Cover and set aside.
Clean the squid as instruction here. Toss the squid with 1/8 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp ground black pepper, 1/8 tsp paprika, and 1/2 tsp garlic. Cover set aside.
Clean the mussels and clamps as instruction here and here.
2. Chop the onion finely. Cut the tomatoes into half and grate them through large holes of a grater, discard the peel.
3. Bring the broth to a boil, add shrimp shells. When the broth boils again. Turn off the heat cover and let the flavor steeps about 15 minutes. Discard the shells. This step can be done right after shelling the shrimp.
4. Lightly toast saffron in a small pan over medium low heat until fragrant. Remove from heat and crush it finely with the back of a spoon. Add to the broth and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium low, cover and keep simmer.
5. Heat 2 Tbs oil in a 12-in heavy bottom pan or paella pan over medium high heat. Add garlic, stir until fragrant. Add onion or shallot and stir about 3 minutes until soft and sweet, if the mixture start to scorch at the bottom, turn down the heat to medium or add extra oil /a few tsp. Add tomato and stir until the mixture is getting darken and thicken lightly about 3 minutes. The mixture should not running from a spoon. Add rice and stir until all grain coated with the tomato mixture 1-2 minutes. Add hot broth and remain paprika. I use 3 cups broth for 2 cup Arborio, will update with the bomba rice later. Taste for the saltiness, may add 1/2 to 1 tsp salt but remember the broth will be cooked down so do not add too much salt. Bring it back to a boil over medium high heat. Stir to make an even layer. Continue cooking on medium high heat uncover until most of the broth evaporated. Cover the pot and turn the heat down to medium low cook about 15 minutes. Taste the rice, it must be cooked now, if not cover and cook 5 more minutes. Gently stir the top layer of the rice, and arrange mussels and clamps with the hinge side down, shrimp with the tails up atop of the rice. Scatter peppers and pea if used over the pan. Cover and cook 10-15 more minutes over medium heat until seafood cooks through. Mussels and clamp opens, and shrimp is pink and opaque. Uncover and check the rice bottom, it is supposed toasted and lightly crunchy which is called socarrat in the ideal paella; if not- raise the heat to medium high and uncovered and cook a few more minutes but do not let it scorches.The paella can be finished up uncorved, in preheat 400 oF oven after placing seafood on the top
6. When the paella is almost done. Heating 2 tsp oil in a medium pan, lightly salt scallops and add to the pan. Cook until light golden brown both sides and cook through about 2-3 minutes. Move scallops to the side and add 1 tsp oil if the pan is too dry, add squid, stir a few minutes until squid rings start curling and turn opaque white. Remove from heat.
7. When the rice is done, arrange scallops and squids on the top. Remove from heat. Cover the paella and let it rest 5 minutes. Sprinkle green onion or parley and serve. Lemon wedges is passed separately. I like to make a lemon black pepper sauce for dipping seafood like home. Simply just squeeze lemon juice over a little salt and ground black pepper. Each dinner serve themselves. Seafood is great when dipping in aioli/mayonnaise too.* Notes:
-The red pepper maybe add to the pan and stir frying with tomato before adding rice. Green pepper can be used instead of pea. I saw oyster mushroom is used in one recipe too.
-Shrimp stock can be made by add shrimp shells into lightly salted water, bring to a boil, covered. Turn off the heat and let it steeps for 15 minutes.
-1 bottle of clamp juice can be use to enhance the flavor in place of chicken or fish stock.
-If you have shrimps with head on, you can removed the heads and add them to the broth with shells or remove the hard shells covered the head and digestive sack, leave the head attached to the body and cook like regular headless shrimps.
-More information how to Paella here.