Saffron Seafood Paella

November 23, 2009  •  Fish & Seafood, One Dish Meals

I love having dinner parties. I love creating the menu, I love shopping for the food, I love cooking, and I love sharing all that goodness with my friends. Sometimes I opt for a meal that’s plated and served in courses, and sometimes I choose family style. No matter what, I like to serve food that will have an impact, and paella meets that challenge. From the huge paella pan that you bring to the table, to the seafood peeking out of the saffron infused rice to the aroma of the chorizo, it’s impressive. Paella is also quite easy to make – all you need is a big pan, then pretty much everything is just added one step at a time.
Start by browning your chorizo in some extra virgin olive oil. This gives the chorizo a nice texture and color, but also renders out some of the fat from it which will be used to cook the vegetables. First saute your vegetables – onions and peppers – then add the rice and let it toast for a couple of minutes before adding the water and spices. Cover and simmer to cook the rice, and when the rice is about 90 percent cooked, toss in the seafood to steam and cook, then stir in the peas and chorizo at the end. Serve it with some crusty toast and a salad and you’ve got dinner covered.

Saffron Seafood Paella
Serves 8

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 chorizo link sausages, diced small
2 medium onions, diced
2 large green or red bell peppers, diced small
2 cups arborio rice
4 cups water
1 pinch saffron
1 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper, to taste
2 pounds peeled and deveined shrimp (tails on)
3 dozen black mussels, scrubbed
2 cups peas

Heat oil in a very large paella pan or skillet over medium high heat. Add chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and some of the fat has rendered out. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside. Add onion and pepper and cook until slightly softened, about 3-5 minutes. Add rice and cook for 2 minutes, then add water, saffron, cumin, and salt and pepper; bring to a boil, cover and reduce to simmer. When rice is nearly cooked but still wet, add shrimp and mussels on top, cover tightly and allow them to steam for 2 minutes, then stir into paella, cover, and let them continue to cook until shrimp are opaque and mussels have opened. Return chorizo to the pan and stir in along with the peas.

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