Easy seafood paella

Seafood paella is nowadays quite popular in the South of France. There are many adaptations of this most famous Spanish dish, and all sorts of dishes can be called paella.

Nancy Harmon Jenkins writes beautifully in her Mediterranean Diet Cookbook about the true paella: it can be made only with the round short grain bomba rice, it includes only chicken, rabbit and snails, it is seasoned only with saffron and paprika, it should be made only in a paella pan over an open fire and it should be cooked only by men for the midday meal. So my easy seafood paella recipe does not even pretend to be authentic, but I guarantee that it is healthy, tasty and easy to cook.

2 servings:

2 tbsp olive oil
½ large onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp sweet paprika, paprika doux
A large pinch of saffron
120 ml instant brown rice
250 ml chicken stock
About 10- 16 shrimp, shelled
About 10- 16 mussels

Shell the shrimps leaving tails attached and place them in the fridge. In the South of France, the shrimps are usually cooked whole in paella, but this makes a “messier” eating than most people wish. I like to keep tails intact because they are so decorative and easy to remove on the plate. If you use frozen raw shelled shrimps, defrost them in the fridge for about 8 hours and keep them in the fridge until needed.

Wash the mussels and check that they are closed. If they are slightly open just knock them so that they close. Discard those that do not close. Keep them in the fridge until needed.

Make 250 ml chicken stock from a good cube.

In a large frying pan warm 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Start making Spanish tomato sofrito which is a basic tomato sauce cooked from olive oil, onion, garlic and tomatoes. Add the sweet paprika and saffron in the pan and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the tomatoes have collapsed.

Add the rice to the pan and stir well so that the rice is well coated. Add 250 ml chicken stock and bring to the boil. Then reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 10- 12 minutes until the rice is tender. There should be a little liquid in the pan, but not too much. If the rice gets too dry, add a little water.

Add the reserved shrimps and mussels so that they are nicely nestled among the rice. Cover and cook for 4- 5 minutes until the shrimps are pink and opaque and the mussels have opened.

Serve with a green side salad.


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