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Seafood Paella

March 9, 2009

In anticipation of our trip to Spain, and the fact that Greg’s sister was in town, I made a seafood paella that was perfect for our 70 degree weekend here.  It was beautiful, but alas, no picture.  Now that the time change has happened, I vow to take more pictures of the food I make to include on this site.  Hopefully the longer daylight hours will enable me to get decent pictures.

But back to the paella.  Whether or not this tastes anything like real paella, I don’t know, but the results were great.  This is an all-seafood version that includes shrimp, mussels and squid.  I have found that the Trader Joe’s frozen squid is better than the fresh you can get at the Farmer’s market- it seems to shrink less and stays tender.  Plus, there’s no cleaning involved.  This recipe, which I adapted from Passionate Eater, serves 8 and could easily be halved.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lb mussels, scrubbed and debearded

3/4 c white wine

4 roasted red bell peppers, sliced into thin strips

1 T olive oil

6 large cloves garlic, minced

2 c chicken or vegetable stock

2 pinches saffron

1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, drained or whole tomatoes, drained and chopped

1/2 t smoked Spanish paprika, hot or sweet

1 14 oz package, or 2 c short grain rice, such as Valencia or Arborio

1 1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/2 lb squid rings and tentacles, defrosted to room temperature

2 c frozen peas, defrosted to room temperature

Directions:

Place white wine in a saucepan with a lid large enough to hold the mussels.  Bring wine to a boil and add mussels.  Cook, covered, until mussels open, about 3-5 minutes.  When the mussels have opened, drain the liquid into a small bowl and the add saffron to it.  Keep mussels covered in the pot to keep warm.

In a large skillet with a lid, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes.  Add the red pepper strips and cook a minute more.  Add the wine and saffron broth, chopped tomatoes, and chicken or vegetable stock and smoked paprika and bring to a boil.  Add the rice, stir to combine and cover.  Bring to a simmer again over medium heat.  Cook rice at medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  When the rice has absorbed more than half of the liquid and has plumped, add the shrimp and stir to combine.  If rice looks too dry, add some more stock or water.  Cover and cook for 5 more minutes, until the shrimp is opaque and most of the water has been absorbed by the rice.  At this point my skillet was too small, so I transferred half of paella to another warmed skillet.  Taste the rice and if its tender but still a little chewy, stir in squid and peas.  Nestle the cooked mussels (discard any that didn’t open) in the top of the paella and turn off heat and let sit, covered for 5 mintues before serving.  If the rice is still undercooked, add more liquid, if needed, and continue cooking until it is tender, then add the squid and peas and let sit for 5 minutes.

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