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Seafood Paella

The mix of fresh seafood, rice and vegetables has made paella hugely popular far beyond the borders of Spain. Its characteristic yellow colour is due to the powdered saffron. Meats such as chicken, pork, ham and chorizo (or spicy sausage) can also be added to make this into an even more robust and flavourful dish.

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Ingredients

For The Stock

1 litre water
1 kg mussels (in their shells)
250 g uncooked prawns
1 carrot, 1 leek and 2 sticks celery, chopped
2 bay leaves
Handful of fresh parsley stalks
10 peppercorns

For The Rice

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, peeled and cut into rings
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 small green pepper, deseeded and chopped
1 tomato, skinned and chopped
400 g short-grain rice
Pinch of saffron strands, dried and powdered
1 litre dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
250 g baby squid, cleaned
Lemon wedges to serve
Chopped fresh parsley to serve
Garlic Mayonnaise to serve

Details

Serves: 6


Method

Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Scrub the mussels under cold running water with a small, stiff brush, discarding any that are open or have damaged shells. Place in the boiling water until they begin to open, then lift them out and place in a colander to drain. Make sure the colander is sitting on a dish so you can collect the liquid that drains from the cooked mussels. This can be used when making the fish stock. Set the mussels aside and allow them to cool.

Plunge the prawns into the boiling mussel water, then remove them almost immediately so they do not overcook and toughen. Allow to cool. Peel the prawns, retaining the heads and shells, then set aside with the mussels. To make the stock, place the heads and shells back into the water and add the chopped carrot, leek, celery, bay leaves, fresh parsley stalks and peppercorns. Do not add salt, as the mussels themselves will provide a sufficient quantity. Simmer for 30 minutes then strain, reserving the liquid.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a shallow, flameproof earthenware dish or paella pan (approximately 30 cm in diameter) and gently fry the onion rings, garlic, pepper and tomato for approximately 5 minutes.

Add the rice and stir, making sure all the grains are well coated in oil. When the grains become slightly translucent, sprinkle on the dried and powdered saffron and add the dry white wine.

Pour the reserved fish stock on to the rice and stir. Check the seasoning, adding salt if necessary. Boil the mixture for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for a further 15 minutes. From time to time, use a large spoon to manoeuvre the rice from the edges of the pan into the centre, then stir.

About 5 minutes before the rice is cooked, when most of the liquid has been absorbed, place the uncooked squid into the simmering rice and stir. Arrange the cooked mussels and prawns on the paella to heat. Add more water or wine if the dish becomes too dry.

Remove from the heat and allow the paella to rest for 5 minutes. The rice should be al dente, or firm to bite, but still moist. Do not worry if it sticks to the base of the pan a little.

Serve directly from the cooking dish, garnished with lemon wedges, chopped fresh parsley and Garlic Mayonnaise.

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