With Spain in the World Cup finals, I feel compelled to share my recipe for paella. Paella is the quintessential hands-on dish. There’s prep work involved, and it’s always fun to enlist a few friends for chopping and wine prior to cooking.
My husband and I make our big paellas outside, either over a big fire pit or using our gas paella cooker. A crowd gathers around the paella, sangria and wine sipping guests peppering John with questions as he gets the rice to that perfect consistency with a well-formed soccarat. Soccarat is the delicacy of the paella, that slightly charred crust that forms on the bottom of the pan.
For me, paella just isn’t paella without alioli, the homemade garlic mayonnaise. Encourage your guests to add a dollop to their plates. With each bite, I dip a forkful of paella into the alioli. It’s heaven on bread too and would pretty much make a shoe taste good.
This recipe serves 6, probably 8. The prep is certainly doable for one and it can easily be made indoors. I usually serve it with a green salad and sliced baguette. -alyce eyster
- 1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled & deveined (shells reserved)
- 4 Tblsp olive oil
- 6 large sea scallops
- 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 ripe tomatoes, seeded & chopped
- 1 ½ cups Spanish paella rice or Arborio
- cup peas, fresh or frozen
- 18 mussels, well scrubbed
- pimientos for garnish
- lemon wedges
- flat leaf parsley, chopped
- Shrimp Broth:
- reserved shrimp shells
- small yellow onion, chopped
- small carrot, chopped
- stalk celery, chopped
- 1 cup bottled clam juice
- 1 bay leaf
- pinch of salt
- 3 whole black peppercorns
- 3 cups water
- 1 tsp turmeric (optional)
- tsp saffron threads
- cup dry white wine
- Prepare the shrimp broth by combining all of the ingredients except for the saffron and wine in a medium saucepan and simmer for 1 hour. Strain, stir in the saffron and wine and set aside. The broth may be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated until needed. Be sure to bring it to a boil before adding to the paella.
- For the paella, preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium high heat in a paella pan or other shallow pan measuring at least 15 inches across. Sauté the shrimp and scallops only briefly to sear, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the pan. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan and sauté the green pepper for 3 minutes. Add the garlic, paprika and tomatoes and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add the rice and stir to coat. Add the hot broth and the peas. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until the mixture is no longer soupy, but liquid still remains. Taste for seasoning and be sure to add enough salt at this point.
- Place the reserved shrimp, scallops and mussels on top (and pimiento if desired) of the rice and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the rice is done. Cover with a foil tent and set aside for 10 minutes before serving. Serve garnished with lemon wedges and chopped Italian parsley.
3 cloves, garlic minced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 egg yolks
1 cup olive oil (or half canola, half olive)
juice of 1 lemon
½ tsp salt
pinch cayenne pepper
dash of Tabasco
In the bowl of food processor, process the garlic, mustard and egg yolks. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and lemon juice, alternating between the two until you have a thick emulsion. Add the remaining ingredients and process until well combined.