I have been working on perfecting my paella making skills this summer which means I have been making paella often. By perfecting, I mean I have been striving to get that amazing crispy rice bottom on the paella pan known as the socarrat. This is how they do it in Spain. I love when you linger over the table, scraping all the goodness off of the pan after the paella has been devoured. Any excuse I can find, I am making paella. What to come over for dinner? Then you will probably get paella. I have been making traditional Valencia paella, a killer vegetarian paella and this amazing seafood paella. Last month, I made this seafood paella for a friend’s birthday and it was so good that I decided I should share the recipe.
I have enjoyed paella many times during my life but it wasn’t until I spent some time in Spain when I introduced to a really amazing paella. It was flavorful and the crispy rice on the bottom was perfection, and later I learned what one should strive for making the socarrat when making paella as this shows a well made paella. There is a place in Oakland that makes it just like Spain. While I could go there, I find it is more fun to make it at home. The way to achieve that toasty layer is using a wide and shallow pan, like the Paella pan. The surface keeps the rice layer shallow and allows the stock to evaporate at an even pace, which creates the crispy layer.
Paella is a rich rice dish that originated in Valencia Spain. Every recipe in Spain is different as they use different meats or vegetables so it is a great recipe that is super versatile and you can definitely use your imagination when working with ingredients. Some paella purists say you should not mix meat and fish; but, I have never been one to follow rules!
** serves 4
2 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 cup clam broth
1/2 teaspoon saffron thread
2 basque or Portuguese chorizo, cut into 1″ pieces – Mexican chorizo is too crumbly
1/8 cup virgin extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup yellow onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 1/2 cups paella rice
6 large shrimp with heads on or regular shrimp if you cannot find with heads
1 pound littleneck clams
1/2 pound mussels
1/8 cup peas, fresh or frozen, if frozen let thaw
parsley, for garnish
lemon wedges, for serving
Place the chicken stock along with the clam broth into a medium-sized saucepan. Crumble the saffron into the mixture and bring to a low simmer. Remove from the heat.
In a large paella pan cook the chorizo over medium-low heat. Do not cook over high heat or you will burn the chorizo as well as the oils from the meat. Remove from the pan and place into a bowl.
Add the olive oil to the paella pan, then stir in the onion and cook until soft over low heat; about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, stir and cook for 1 minute.
Add the paprika to the onion mixture and stir and cook over low heat for 1 minute. Stir in the rice and cook stirring until the rice is evenly coated with the seasonings; about 1 minute.
Add the hot stock mixture to the rice and stir to evenly distribute across the paella pan. Cook over medium-low heat without stirring. Rotate the pan for even cooking until half of the liquid has been absorbed; about 20 minutes.
Add the chorizo, shrimp, clams, and mussels to the pan. Make sure the clams and mussels are hinge side down. Cook, turning the shrimp about halfway until the fish is cooked and all of the liquid has absorbed; about 15 – 20 minutes. Depends on the heat of your stove – they are all different.
Scatter the peas over the top and let sit for 5 minutes.
Garnish with peas and serve with lemon wedges on the side.