Classic Seafood Paella

easy_seafood_paella   

Classic Seafood Paella

An authentic Spanish dish, this Classic Seafood Paella is made with simple ingredients like rice, vegetables, saffron, and an assortment of seafood including shrimp, scallops, clams, and mussels.  

If you are celebrating the Feast of 7 Fishes on Christmas Eve, you can keep a Mediterranean theme and visit Spain virtually with this delicious seafood dinner. 

Traditional Spanish Paella is made with chicken and can also have chorizo or sausage. I do not put any meat in my paella and keep it pescatarian friendly exclusively with seafood. 

My recipe comes from my time in Barcelona.  I spent a semester in Spain during college, touring the country, learning the language and culture, and attending university.  My host mother Esther showed me how to make Paella and this recipe has been simplified for the home cook. 

While paella is traditionally made using a special pan, you can make it at home with a stainless steel pan that has a lid.  I used a Calphalon 14″ pan. 

Real saffron is a must for authentic paella.  Yes, it is expensive – but you can find it on sale at the grocery store.  I just picked up the Spice Islands brand for buy one get one free at Safeway and it ended up just $9.99 for each jar after the sale…. that is an amazing price!   

The spices typically go on super sale during Christmas and Easter, so that’s the time to stock up.

What Kind of Rice to Use in Paella?

Authentic Spanish Paella is made with bomba rice, which is a round, short-grain rice.  Unlike traditional rice varieties, bomba rice is short-grained rice that has unique characteristics. It is best known for its ability to absorb moisture up to three times its volume. In addition, its firm consistency and great taste make it the perfect option for traditional Spanish cuisine paella.  Safeway carries a paella rice under the Mahatma brand, but if you can’t find it, a medium-grain Calrose rice will work in this dish.  Long-grain rice is not recommended for paella.  Additionally, arborio rice is not recommended as it is too starchy for paella. 

 

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 15 oz can of petite diced tomatoes
  • bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped, divided
  • 2 cups bomba Spanish rice, or medium-grain Calrose rice
  • 5 1/2 cups broth (vegetable, seafood, or chicken)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/2 lb. bay scallops
  • 1/2 lb. jumbo shrimp, tail on
  • 1/2 lb. mussels
  • 1/2 lb. clams
  • 2 lemons, zest, juice, and wedges for garnish

seafood_paella_ingredients

How to make Authentic Seafood Paella

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add the onions, peppers, and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent (about 3-4 minutes)

Add diced tomatoes, bay leaf, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and saffron.    Add white wine and cook for about 10 minutes. 

Add the rice and parsley to the pot, stir well and cook the rice for one minute.  

Smooth the rice into an even layer in the pan then add the broth.  Do not stir the rice again until serving. 

Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat.  Gently shake the pan a few times while cooking to evenly distribute the broth.  Don’t stir the rice as you want it to get caramelized and toasted while cooking.    The crispy toasted crust on the bottom is called socarrat and is part of the “secret” of making a good paella.

Cook for 15 – 18 minutes uncovered.  While there is still broth on the top and the rice is cooked through, add the shrimp, mussels, scallops and clams into the rice so that it is nestled for cooking.  Season the seafood with salt and pepper and cover the paella with a lid to steam the mussels, clams and help the seafood cook through.  This could take anywhere from 5 – 10 minutes. 

Add the peas and fresh lemon juice and zest.  Cook for an additional minute to heat the peas.  Cover and let the paella rest for about 10 minutes off the heat before serving. 

Top with fresh chopped parsley and lemon wedges. 

 

 

 

seafood_Paella

seafood_Paella

Classic Seafood Paella

An authentic Spanish dish, this Classic Seafood Paella is made with simple ingredients like rice, vegetables, saffron, and an assortment of seafood including shrimp, scallops, clams, and mussels.  
 
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Course: Seafood
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Spanish
Keyword: Classic Seafood Paella, Easy Seafood Paella
Prep Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 6 servings
Calories:
Author: Eva Fry

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 15 oz can of petite diced tomatoes
  • bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley chopped, divided
  • 2 cups bomba Spanish rice or medium-grain Calrose rice
  • 5 1/2 cups broth vegetable, seafood, or chicken
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas thawed
  • 1/2 lb. bay scallops
  • 1/2 lb. jumbo shrimp tail on
  • 1/2 lb. mussels
  • 1/2 lb. clams
  • 2 lemons zest, juice, and wedges for garnish

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the onions, peppers, and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent (about 3-4 minutes)
  • Add diced tomatoes, bay leaf, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and saffron.    Add white wine and cook for about 10 minutes.
  • Add the rice and parsley to the pot, and stir well.
  • Smooth the rice into an even layer in the pan then add the broth.  Do not stir the rice again until serving.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat.  Gently shake the pan a few times while cooking to evenly distribute the broth.  Don't stir the rice as you want it to get caramelized and toasted while cooking.    The crispy toasted crust on the bottom is called socarrat and is part of the "secret" of making a good paella.
  • Cook for 15 - 18 minutes uncovered over medium low heat.  While there is still broth on the top and the rice is cooked through, add the shrimp, mussels, scallops and clams into the rice so that it is nestled for cooking.  Season the seafood with salt and pepper and cover the paella with a lid or foil to steam the mussels, clams and help the seafood cook through.  This could take anywhere from 5 - 10 minutes.
  • Add the peas and fresh lemon juice and zest.  Cook for an additional minute to heat the peas.  Cover and let the paella  rest for about 10 minutes off the heat before serving.
  • Top with fresh chopped parsley and lemon wedges.

 

Classic_Seafood_Paella_Plated

 

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2 thoughts on “Classic Seafood Paella”

  1. Have a question regarding “toasting rice” …How can you toast the rice after adding diced tomatoes and white wine? Please respond to my email, as I really want to make this recipe in my newly purchased paella pan. Thank you!

    1. Hi Michelle – “Toast” the rice is probably not the right wording – just saute the rice with the veggies for a minute. The rice will develop the socarrat (toasted caramelization) in the pan after adding the broth and cooking over medium-low heat without stirring. I’ll update the recipe wording.

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