Skip to main content

Seafood Paella

I can't imagine many dishes that court more controversy amongst purists than Paella. It is the soul of Spain and as such, opinions regarding its preparation are strong. Even its regional origins are arguable, but I believe that the arguments for it originating in Valencia ring true to me. 
As I don't eat meat, but occasionally seafood, I wanted to create a seafood version that would be as authentic as possible without the meat and the open fire. 

If you're not familiar with paella, it is traditionally cooked in a very large flat open pan and over an open fire. It is not soupy or soft, but rather the rice is crunchy around the edges and perfectly separated. The meat is mostly chicken, rabbit, chorizo and occasionally snails. It's a true culinary treasure. 

As I do not have a dedicated paella dish and open fires are not really a viable option, I found a nifty hack that gives very good results. 

If you are a meat eater, then there are ample recipes online for a totally traditional Valencian paella. 


1 1/2 lb Firm White Fish. Cod, Monkfish and Hake are all good choices.
3/4 lb Shrimp, cleaned and deveined. 
1/2 lb Bay Scallops 
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 cloves Garlic, chopped 
1 large Onion, chopped
1 tsp Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
1 can of diced Tomatoes, Muir Fire Roasted would be ideal. 
1 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
1/2 cup White Wine
2 cups Spanish Arroz or Paella rice. In a pinch, medium grain rice can be used. 
4 cups Seafood Stock warmed. 
2 Bay Leaves
1 ample pinch Saffron, crushed and mixed with a little hot water.
1 cup frozen Green Peas
1 small jar pimento stuffed Manzanilla Green Olives
Lemon wedges for garnish

Place the olive oil in a cast iron casserole (Le Cruset is perfect) or some pot with a cover that can go from stovetop to oven. 

Over medium heat bring the oil up to temperature, add the garlic and chopped onion and 1/2 tsp of the salt and black pepper, sauté until the onions are soft. Then add the smoked paprika and bay leaves. Sauté for 2-3 minutes and add the tomatoes and wine and cook until it reduces a bit. About 10 minutes. Taste and if it needs it, add the remaining 1/2 tsp of salt.

Then add the rice and coat thoroughly. Add warmed stock and saffron, mix well and then add the peas and olives and bring to a slight simmer. 

Add the seafood, gently pushing it into the broth. Fish first, then scallops and finally the shrimp.

Cover and put into a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and continue cooking for 15 minutes. 

Remove from oven, recover and allow to rest on stove top for 5 minutes. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve.

Wine: Albarino is a good match as is a Rose’.


Popular posts from this blog

Marlow and Son’s Butterbeans, Garlic Confit and Preserved Tomatoes

I first saw this recipe in Bon Appetit and was fascinated. It used interesting ingredients combined in a unique way and I had to try it. The recipe was given in response to an email from BA writer to Marlow chef Patch Troffer, but the recipe had no measurements and timing.  After making it, I adjusted a few things and added quantities and timing and was very happy with the results. I ordered my dried beans from Rancho Gordo in Napa and they were excellent.   To make it spectacular, you really do need to make the garlic confit and preserved tomatoes. They aren’t hard to make, but set aside a bit of time. Make a full recipe and then use the rest for other dishes.   Garlic Confit 3 heads of Garlic, peeled and left whole.  3/4-1 cup Olive Oil  4 springs fresh Thyme  2 Bay Leaves 2 dried Chili Peppers Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and cook on barest simmer for 1-2 hours. (This broad cooking time is due to the fact that some garlic has more moisture

Norfolk Style Seafood

This is such a good recipe and so simple to make. The story behind this recipe is interesting. When I was a young boy, we used to go to a seafood restaurant in Washington DC called O'Donnell's. They had wonderful food, and most importantly, they had Buck. Buck was a gentle giant at 6' 2" and was always talking to me about his recipe. He had invented this style of cooking seafood and had even developed special pans which could be used over open flame and then it could be delivered to the tables still sizzling.  He was rightfully very proud of this.  After being there quite a few times, Buck shared his recipe with me and told me to keep it a secret. Since this was over 40 years ago, I guess I can reveal it now.  Ingredients 1/2 lb Shrimp, Jumbo Lump Crab or Langoustines, raw and shelled 2 Tbsp Butter 2 cloves Garlic, chopped Dash of Old Bay Seasoning Juice of 1/2 Lemon Few dashes of Tabasco Splash of White Wine Salt and Black Pepper Heat your pan u

Golden Mountain Sauce

I love making Thai food at home, and I've always prided myself on getting that authentic Thai flavor, but if I’m completely honest, I have to admit it always seemed to be missing a little something. Well, I have found out what that little something was. It's called Golden Mountain Sauce and it has been called the "secret of Thai cooking" and has been used in Thailand for over 50 years. Use it as you would soy sauce, but mix it equal parts with fish sauce to get the real Thai flavor. Here is the perfect dish to try it out.   Gai Pad Prik Grapao/Chicken with Hot Chilies and Basil Thais’ love fresh basil, and use many different types. Most of us are familiar with Sweet Basil, and this is easy to find in any market. However, it’s the “Holy Basil”, known as Bai Grapao, which is the most flavorful and authentic. This basil has an anise type of flavor and gives this dish an amazing flavor and dimension that just doesn’t taste the same with sweet basil.