Last weekend I had an inspiration from my newly acquired Food of Spain book and that inspiration is the seafood paella. Before I launch into the making of this paella, guys, this was so seriously good. It’s just one of those things that surprise you how good it is. The reason it was oh-so-good was because I had access to one of the best fish mongers in Melbourne. So try to get a hold of the best prawns, crabs and mussels that you can or move to my fabulous suburb.
The inspiration came from Food Safari’s Paella on the Spanish episode in the first season, which I have on DVD but naturally I went about it my own way.
I used a standard frying pan – no paella pan but it worked just as well.
For 2-3 people:
- 1 capsicum, roasted
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 chorizo, diced
- 1/3 chicken breast, diced
- 1 cup of arborio rice*
- 1 tsp of good vegetable stock powder
- 1 tsp of salt
- 10 strands of saffron
- 1 tsp of smoked paprika
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1 blue swimmer crab, cleaned and quartered
- 4 large uncooked prawns, shell on
- 6 mussels in the shells
- 4 squid rings
- 1/2 cup of frozen peas
(grilling the capsicum on the stove top)
Start by roasting the capsicum until the skin blackens and blister. I do this by turning over and over on the stove with medium heat for about 10 minutes. Leave aside, covered, to cool. Peel off the blackened skin (it should come off quite easily) and cut into strips
Heat up about 2 tbsp of olive oil on a frying pan. Add garlic, onion, capsicum, chorizo and chicken. Cook, stirring for a few minutes until the onion becomes translucent. Add a cup of aborio rice, followed by 2 cups of hot water (for arborio rice, use 2:1 rice/water ratio, other rice will be different). Add vegetable stock power, paprika and chopped tomato. Stir.
(saffron threads in my awesome granite mortar)
Make saffron salt by pounding 1/2 tsp of salt and saffron together in the mortar and pestle. Sprinkle saffron salt into the rice and stock. Stir evenly. Turn the heat down to low and leave the rice to simmer – don’t stir the rice anymore after all the seasonings have been added – for about 5 minutes.
(this looks a bit creepy/ crawly doesn’t it?)
Arrange crab pieces, prawns and calamari rings on the rice. Cover and cook for further 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, turn the prawns and crab pieces over. Scatter the frozen peas and arrange the roasted capsicum strips on (it’s piling on, I know!). Add the mussels and cook, covered, for another 10 minutes.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with a wedge of lemon. It’s oh-so-awesome. Just a note to take care while adding salt/stock powder. Some of the seafood might already be rather salty and the juices from them will add to the salt content.
* I didn’t have any calasparra but if you’re using calasparra rice, you will need more water.