SEAFOOD PAELLA

Happy #NationalPaellaDay! Before we share our favourite recipe for one of the most famous Spanish dishes, let's have a look at how to pronounce it correctly. In Spanish, double ll is read as "y". This means that "paella" should be read [paˈeʎa], not [paˈela] the way many people mispronounce it.

Paella is an iconic Spanish dish originally from the coast of Valencia (and Alicante). Paella is one of the dozens of varieties of Spanish rice dishes, all of which have a few things in common - sofrito ( garlic, onion, peppers, and tomatoes cooked in olive oil), round grain rice, broth, and the method you cook the rice (the rice must not be mixed). This has resulted in numerous authentic regional recipes, like the seafood paella, farm vegetable rice, oven-baked rice, rice with potatoes or rice with fish served on the side.

Not many people know that "Paella" is named after the shallow pan it is being cooked in. Unlike other Spanish rice dishes, it is important for paella that the height of the finished dish does not exceed 2-3 inches.  

INGREDIENTS

(serves two)

200g round grain rice (not Arborio)

olive oil

1 red pepper

2 ripe tomatoes

2 cloves of garlic

3/4 onion 

2 artichokes 

1 carrot

celery leaves

spices: 1 bay leaf, 1 tsp ground pepper, 1 whole dried pepper (can be omitted), a pinch of saffron, pepper

200g prawns

200g lobster 

1 smaller squid

 

METHOD

PREPARATION OF THE SEAFOOD

1. Put one half of the prawns and lobsters aside.

2. To clean the second half of the seafood - first, gently pull all the heads off one by one. Keep these for the broth.

3. Prawns - unwrap the relatively soft outer shell, starting from the bottom feet. 

4. Lobsters - break the hard shell on the second link from the head, pull the loose links, and gently pull the white flesh out.

5. Squid - cut off the tentacles just above the eyes and discard the rest. Keep the tentacles. Then remove the transparent bone from the inside of the body and rinse the inside with cold water. Be careful not to leave the rest of the bone inside. Remove the top thin speckled skin from the bell-shaped body, leaving only the white body. It is quite easy and although rubber gloves are recommended, you will do well without them. Cut the body into rings and the tentacles lengthwise into smaller pieces.

scampi

BROTH

1. Heat the olive oil on high temperature in a larger pot,

2. Fry the prawns' and lobsters' heads and shells for about 2-3 minutes until they turn brown. 

3. Add 1 clove of garlic, 2 halves of tomato, bay leaf, half an onion, celery leaves and add 0.75l of water. Bring to the boil, and collect the pink froth. 

4. Simmer for at least 30 minutes. Season with salt before pouring over the paella rice. 

PAELLA

1. Chop 1/4 onion and 1 garlic clove finely. 

2. Peel the tomato and pepper. Cut out the stalk bit from the tomato, cut the tomato into quarters, and remove the inside with the seeds. Then cut the flesh as carefully as possible into small pieces. Cut the pepper in half, then cut 1/2 into cubes and 1/2 into long, inch wide stripes.

3. Artichoke - cut off the tip of the flower, depending on the size of the artichoke, two and a half to three centimetres from the tip. Use a small sharp knife to cut the outer hard leaves in a circle centred on the flower axis. If you are working with artichoke for the first time, always cut more than it seems to be right, as there should be no hardy leaves on the flower. Coat the exposed areas with lemon to protect against oxidation. Cut into quarters. We have a very handy video to show you "How to Clean Artichokes".

artichokes

4. Once the broth has been set, a shallow pan with a diameter of about 30 cm can be placed on a medium heat (it is important that the flame or plate under the pan is as large as possible). 

5. Add 70ml of olive oil and fry the cleaned and chopped dry pepper only for a few seconds ( to prevent it from burning). Then remove the pepper and crush it with some salt in the mortar.

6. Fry the prepared long strips of pepper on both sides in the oil, season with salt and set aside.

7. Add the squid, along with the peeled prawns and lobsters - increase the flame and fry on both sides till brown. 

8. Add the finely chopped peppers, onions and tomato along with the artichokes. 

9. Add the ground pepper, saffron and ground fried dried pepper and fry while constantly stirring. Then keep on adding 1-2 tablespoons of broth to keep the mixture at a thin line between slightly burnt and pleasant brown colour. This gives paella the resulting taste and colour ( we DON'T use artificial colours as many do in paella instead of saffron). 

10. Season with salt and fry with the occasional addition of 1 - 2 teaspoons of the broth for about  10 - 15 minutes. 

11. When you are satisfied with the colour and consistency of the "sofrito", fry it into a state when the oil starts separating and there is no liquid left in the mixture.

12. Lower the heat to minimum and add the rice. Carefully mix so that each grain is coated with the "sofrito" mixture. 

13. Flaten the mixture of rice and all ingredients into a flat layer. Pour in 500 ml of broth. It is essential that the broth is boiling hot and we use twice the volume of the rice. Taste and add salt if needed as after adding the broth, you shouldn't be touching the mixture again. 

14. Cover the pan with a lid, reduce the flame to a minimum heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Paella can also be cooked without a lid, but only if you have a flame completely under the entire pan and the broth bubbles evenly over the entire surface (otherwise you will have the centre finished and the edges are undone).

15. After about 15 minutes increase the flame to the maximum heat for 1 minute. Then take off the heat and let to rest for at least 5 minutes (it is important that you do not open the paella dish for inspection and leave the lid covered).

16. Use another frying pan for frying the remaining seafood. Heat the pan, add olive oil and remaining seafood (add salt to the pan). It is necessary to fry on high heat only for about 1 minute from each side.

17. Decorate your paella with the freshly fried seafood and the stripes of roasted peppers. Serve with lemon wedges.