Seafood Paella

This was one of my first attempts to make paella. I wouldn’t say it was perfect but it does require a couple tries to get it right. Here is my recipe and tips for a good crust.

I started by cleaning the shrimp. Choose whole shrimp with the shells. The shrimp heads will be saved and used for a simple seafood broth. I got about 1.5 pounds of shrimp.

For the broth, you will also need 1 small onion, 3 cloves of garlic and 3 bay leaves.

In a large stock pot, saute the garlic and onions in a tablespoon of oil.

Cook the onion and garlic until it is slightly brown. Add the shrimps heads to the pot and lightly brown them. Add about 6 cups of water to the pot and boil for about 1 hour. During that time, the water would evaporate and the stock will have a lovely light shrimp flavour. You want about 4 cups of stock for the paella.

Set the stock aside until you are ready to use it in your paella.

Prepare the ingredients for the paella. You will need

  • 4 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a variety of seafood (shrimp, mussels, scallops, squid, fish), about 5 cups worth
  • 2 cups bomba rice (or substitute arborio rice if you cannot find)
  • 1 tsp saffron

Soak the saffron in 1/4 cup hot water for 5-10 minutes. This will help release the flavours.

In a paella pan, cook the onions in 1 tablespoon oil on med-high heat until it is translucent.

Add the shrimp and cook until it is lightly pink. The shrimp will continue cooking when you add the rice. Remove the shrimp and set aside.

Add the tomatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the tomatoes have release its juices.

Add a tablespoon of paprika.

Cook the tomatoes for another 2-3 minutes and then add the rice.

Stir the rice to coat it with the tomatoes.

To the rice, add the saffron water and 4 cups of stock.

Bring to a boil and then turn the heat to low. Arrange the seafood on the rice.

Cover the entire thing with foil. This will help the rice cook evenly if you are using a stove top. Every couple minutes, you want to rotate the pan to ensure the rice is cooking evenly.

Leave covered for about 15-20 minutes or until the rice is al dente. Remember to continue to rotate the pan. When the rice is almost done, you want to remove the foil so that the water evaporates slowly. Be careful because the bottom can burn easily.

When the broth has evaporated, turn the heat up to medium-high and cook for a few minutes to get a nice brown crust. Watch this stage carefully or you can burn it! The crust (or soccarat) is the best part of the paella. It is probably the hardest part to get perfect.

Remove the pan from the heat and let it rest for a couple minutes before serving. Serve the paella with a slice of lemon and a sprinkle of parsley! Enjoy!!

Ingredients

Seafood stock

  • shrimp heads from 1.5 lbs shrimp
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 bay leaves

Paella

  • 4 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a variety of seafood (shrimp, mussels, scallops, squid, fish), about 5 cups worth
  • 2 cups bomba rice (or substitute arborio rice if you cannot find)
  • 1 tsp saffron
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • lemon and parsley for serving

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