Paella de Marisco
|Paella de Marisco|
|Time:||2 hours approx|
Paella de marisco (seafood paella) is the world's most popular paella recipe. It emerged in its modern version in Spain's Valencian coastal region in the early 1800s. Prior to the 19th century, the ingredients for seafood paella varied greatly with the most unusual being eel.
Valencians consider seafood paella and paella valenciana (Valencian paella) as authentic. They view all other variations as imposters.
Below is a slightly altered version of the traditional recipe presented by Chef Juanry Seguí, a prominent Valencian chef.
Cleaning and eating mussels
This recipe calls for live mussels. Here are some safety guidelines for buying, eating and cooking live bivalves (mussels, clams and oysters).
- A 38-centimeter paellera
- A four-liter pot
- A rice skimmer
- A sharp chopping knife for meat and vegetables
- A large serving spoon
- A potato masher
- A clean, white towel large enough to cover the paellera
- A wide heating source such as:
- A stove large enough to accommodate the size of the paellera (You'll have to straddle two burners at once and rotate the paellera periodically for even cooking.)
- A gas burner designed specifically for paelleras
- A charcoal barbecue
- A low, forged steel tripod to support the paellera
For the broth
Please read Paella cooking techniques before attempting this recipe.
- 300 grams of crab
- 300 grams of shrimp heads
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 or 5 whole garlic cloves
- 500 grams yellow onion cut into quarters
- 4 liters water
Boil the above ingredients in water. Allow the liquid to reduce until there's two liters of broth. Occasionally mash the ingredients against the bottom of the pot with a ladle or potato masher to squeeze out their flavors. Strain the broth and set aside.
For the paella
- 12 live mussels with beards removed
- 400 grams grated tomatoes
- 400 grams diced squid mantles
- 400 grams shrimp (deveined and shelled)
- 400 grams Valencian rice
- 8 Norway lobster (Substitute eight very large crawfish or large shrimp if Norway lobsters aren't available.)
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves diced garlic
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 8 to 10 strands of saffron (or 1.5 teaspoons of food coloring): See note below regarding saffron.
- salt to taste
Note: Throughout history, saffron has been the natural ingredient used in Spain to color rice yellow. However, it's very expensive (a pound costs over US$1,500) because it's labor intensive to process and each saffron crocus yields a minuscule amount of saffron. Consequently, supermarkets sell only a few grams per container for three or four US dollars. The best solution to this problem is to use commercially manufactured food coloring containing both natural and artificial ingredients (but usually no saffron). The two most popular US brands are Bijol and Badia. These companies sell containers each holding several ounces of coloring for less than five US dollars.
- Heat oil in a paellera over a medium flame.
- Add mussels and cover with a pot lid. (The lid should cover the mussels but not the entire paellera.)
- Cook until they open. Then remove and set aside.
- Add Norway lobsters and sprinkle them each with a pinch of salt.
- Sear the lobsters. Then remove.
- Add the diced squid and sauté for about two minutes.
- Add the shrimp and sauté for about two minutes.
- Add garlic and sauté until golden brown. This should take about a minute.
- Add grated tomatoes and sauté for about four minutes. You've just made Spanish sofrito.
- Add rice and braise until completely coated with sofrito.
- Add paprika and sauté for about two minutes.
- Add two liters of seafood broth.
- Add saffron (or food coloring). Mix well and simmer for about three minutes.
- Taste the broth and invite your dinner guests to do so as well. If the broth is bland, add salt a pinch at a time until everyone approves.
- Replace the lobsters and mussels.
- Begin tasting the rice after it's been simmering for about 20 minute and reduce the heat a bit. Make sure the rice doesn't get too soft. Check the rice again every 10 minutes and reduce the heat slightly after each taste. Your goal is to wind up with rice that has a slightly underdone center. The time it takes to reach this point can vary from 30 minutes to an hour depending on your cooking gear.
- Your paella is done once you've accomplished the following three things: A) The rice should be slightly firm to the bite. Italians use the same approach when cooking pasta. They call this texture al dente. B) The paella should be a little moist but not soupy. C) You should have a bit of toasted rice on the bottom of the paellera. This is considered a delicacy throughout the Spanish-speaking world.
- Remove the paellera from the heat and cover it with a white towel (NOT ALUMINUM FOIL). Allow it to sit for five minutes before serving.
- Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, La cocina de los mediterráneos, Ediciones B - Mexico
- "A video in Spanish of Juanry Seguí preparing seafood paella". http://www.lacocinadejuanry.es/paellademarisco.html.