I fell in love with paella when I first traveled to Spain. Paella originates from the beautiful city of Valencia, on the southeastern coast. Almost every restaurant there has their own individual family recipe for paella. You’ll find seafood, chicken, duck, rabbit, snail, and vegetable paella. The key to cooking a great paella (which is kind of like risotto) is to not overcook the rice. Keep an eye on it as you cook, and be sure to stir. And enjoy! Or, as the Spanish say, buen provecho!
- 1 cup (250 mL) Spanish or Arborio rice
- 1 lb (450 g) live mussels
- 1/2 lb (225 g) shrimp, spot prawns, or tiger shrimp, raw with shells on (see note)
- 1 Tbsp (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large red onion, finely diced 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup (250 mL) green beans, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces then measured
- 1 cup (250 mL) chopped Roma tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp (15 mL) capers
- 1 Tbsp (15 mL) dried saffron
- 1 Tbsp (15 mL) ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp (5 mL) chili flakes (or chili powder)
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) dry white wine
- 3/4 cup (175 mL) vegetable or chicken stock
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) warm water 2 raw or frozen and thawed lobster tails, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
- 1 Tbsp (15 mL) sweet paprika for garnish
- Place the Spanish rice in a bowl of cold water to soak for approximately 10 minutes.
- Clean the mussels under cold, running water. Remove any hair connected to the mussels and discard any mussels that are completely or even slightly open. Set aside.
- Run your choice of shrimp, prawns, or tiger shrimp under cold, running water to clean them. Set aside in the fridge. You’ll be cooking these with the shells on, as that’s where the flavor is.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Add the green beans and tomatoes and stir well to combine. Add the capers, saffron, cinnamon, and chili flakes. Stir again to combine and coat the vegetables. Let them cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, drain the rice. Add the rice and wine to the vegetables and bring to a boil. Add the stock and water as well. Using a wooden spoon, stir constantly as it returns to a boil to ensure that the rice is fully covered in sauce. Once the mixture is boiling, turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered and stirring frequently, for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the rice is al dente.
- Add the shrimp, mussels, and lobster to the skillet, cover, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the seafood is cooked and opaque, and most of the mussels are open. Discard any mussels that do not open.
- Sprinkle the mixture with sweet paprika while it’s still in the skillet.
- Serve immediately in bowls.
If you’d like to use tiger shrimp in this recipe, make sure to ask your fishmonger where they were sourced. Look for Ocean Wise or MSC-certified tiger shrimp.
Keywords: Spanish, seafood, shrimp, Paella