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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’.


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