On a pleasant winter Sunday night, we decided to take a global culinary excursion to a favorite destination where dinner is late, the party is strong and picturesque towns warm the soul. A place where passion, saffron, vibrant culture and flamenco fill the air — yep, you guessed it — Spain!
We chose to make paella — the country’s most famous dish. We picked a seafood paella recipe from our Paella Paella cookbook and modified it a tad.
This dish was a rich and juicy seafood extravaganza that had our tastebuds yelling Ole!
Here is the recipe: (serves 6-8)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (the recipes calls for ¼ cup but we cut this down)
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 large bell peppers chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 cups arborio rice
- 6 cups fish broth
- ½ teaspoon saffron (for more flavor intensity, we like to let ours steep in a small bowl of hot water for 15-20 minutes)
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 12 oz uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
- 3 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup chopped parsley
- Sliced lemon wedges
The recipe called for 8 oz of chopped ad skinned kielbasa sausage, and we chose to add a bag of frozen mixed seafood from Trader Joe’s instead. If you can, buy fresh seafood, this is always better than frozen.
Heat olive oil in paella pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook 5 minutes. Add bell pepper and cook another 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 3 minutes. If you are using sausage, add now and cook for another 8 minutes, or until done.
Mix in the rice and sauté for about 5 minutes. Pour in broth and saffron and cook another 15 minutes. Add the wine, seafood, peas, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Continue cooking for 8 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. We like to create a crunchy layer of burnt rice on the bottom of the pan, so we let it cook a little longer than what the recipe calls for. Make sure the seafood is on top of the rice to avoid overcooking. Add seasonings to taste, and serve. Squeeze a few lemon wedges on each serving and top with parsley. We added a capful of sherry to each serving, and sprinkled with paprika.