Now is the time to eat specialties like shrimp and King salmon in season, and — as this chef knows —there's no better way to enjoy the bounty of the sea than preparing a seafood rendition of the traditional Spanish dish paella.
Paella has a reputation for being difficult to make because of its long cooking time, but the beginner recipe below takes 45 minutes or less to prepare from start to finish. If you've got a paella pan and a little more time on your hands, take a stab at the more advanced version, which is made on the grill. To check out both variations,
28 ounces chicken broth
2 pinches saffron
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tomato, seeded and diced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 cups Valencia rice
12 ounces chorizo, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
8 large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left intact
12 mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1/2 pound squid, cut into 1/4-inch rings
1/4 cup frozen peas
1 lemon, cut into wedges
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- In a small saucepan, bring the broth to a boil and stir in the saffron. Reduce the heat to low and simmer.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add the onion and bell pepper and cook until just softened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Stir in the tomato and garlic and cook for 3 minutes.
- Stir in the rice and the simmering broth; scatter the chorizo on top.
- Bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper.
- Reduce the heat to low and loosely cover the pan with foil. Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Scatter the shrimp, mussels and squid on the rice, cover and cook until the rice is tender and the seafood is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the peas during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
- Remove the paella from the heat and let rest for 5 minutes. Garnish with the lemon wedges and parsley.
- Shellfish, Main Dishes
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
16 chicken thighs
2 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
2 pounds chorizo sausage, diced into 1/4 half moons
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups small diced red bell peppers
2 cups small diced green bell peppers
4 tablespoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons saffron threads
2 quarts chicken stock
4 cups medium-grain rice
2 pounds jumbo shrimp, shell on, backs split
1 pound mussels
10 ounces or 2 1/3 cups frozen green peas, thawed
3 tablespoons Essence (ingredients below)
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
- Set a paella pan over a grill on medium-high heat and pour 1/4 cup of olive oil.
- Season the chicken with 2 tablespoons of Essence and 2 teaspoons of salt. Once the oil is hot sear the chicken in the pan until well caramelized, about 4 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
- Add the rest of the olive oil with the chorizo to the pan and sear, stirring occasionally, until well caramelized, about 7 minutes.
- Add the onions, red and green bell peppers to the pan and sweat until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and saffron to the pan and return the chicken to the pan as well.
- Pour the stock in the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the chicken for 10 minutes.
- Add the rice to the pan and carefully stir to incorporate. Continue to cook the rice for 15 minutes.
- Season the shrimp with the remaining Essence and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and add to the pan with the mussels tucking them under the rice. Continue to cook until the shrimp turn pink and the mussels begin to open, about 5 minutes.
- Add the peas, turn the heat to low and continue to cook the paella until a crust begins to form on the bottom of the pan, about 5 to 7 minutes more. Serve while hot.
- Shellfish, Main Dishes