What dish to make for guests in Mallorca? I would say a Seafood Paella is as good as it gets! I texted my Spanish friend Eduardo asking for his go to recipe. Trooper that he is, he wrote down a detailed recipe and lots of excellent tips and tricks that helped me sail through making my very first Paella. It will definitely not be the last time I’m making this, because it was so very good! If you want a paella recipe straight from the caballo’s mouth, so to speak, you've definitely found it!
3 medium carrots, finely diced
2 medium onions, finely diced
1 large red pepper, finely diced
1 large green pepper, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
⅓ cup olive oil
2 sachets of seafood paella seasoning (or substitute 1,5 tsp sweet paprika, 1 pinch saffron threads, good pinch of salt)
150 g tomato passata
3 cups bomba rice (or other short grained rice)
6 cups of good quality seafood stock
1 dozen prawns (jumbo shrimp), shells on
1 dozen mussels
1 dozen small clams
4 cleaned small squid, bodies sliced into 1/4-inch (1 cm) wide rings, tentacles left whole
salt & pepper to taste
lemon wedges for serving
In a large saucepan over high heat, bring seafood stock to a high simmer. Turn heat off and reserve for later.
Put a large, shallow pan (see notes) over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. When hot, add the carrots, onions and both peppers to the pan and sauté until just cooked through, stirring often.
Add the garlic and cook until aromatic (about 1-2 minutes). Add the tomato passata and stir. Add in the paella seasoning (or paprika, saffron, and a pinch of salt). Continue to stir and sauté until the passata is reduced and the oil is sizzling.
Add the squid and cook, stirring, for a minute or so.
Add the rice and stir to combine until all the grains are coated.
Pour the hot stock on the rice. Stir well and spread the rice out evenly in the pan.
Spread the shrimps, mussels and clams on the rice, pushing the mussels and clams into the rice slightly.
Cook the rice over medium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes, moving the pan around and rotating it so that the rice cooks evenly. Resist the urge to stir the rice! This is not a risotto. If you hear faint, crackly frying noises from the pan, that is fine, that’s the socarrat forming. Turn down the heat a little if its making you too anxious!
Try the rice after 15 minutes. It needs to still be pretty hard when you turn the heat off, crunchy even.
Remove the paella from the heat (If you are cooking on a glass ceramic stove, for example, remove it altogether, otherwise it will overcook.)
Cover with aluminum foil and let rest for 5-10 minutes until rice is perfect.
Discard any mussels or clams that have not opened.
Serve from the pan, with wedges of fresh lemon.
Tips and tricks:
Bomba rice, seafood paella seasoning and a paellera pan can be ordered online. You need a very large and flat pan. If you do not have a paellera pan, a large, shallow skillet is best. The best paella is no more than 2-3 cm deep in the pan.
Do all the chopping in advance, it can be done the day before and stored in fridge. This will make preparation much more manageable.
The rule of thumb for the protein part of the paella is typically 100 g per person. So if you want to switch it up with different kinds of fish or seafood, by all means give it a try!
The recipe can be doubled, just stick to a strict 2 to 1 ratio of rice and stock. And of course you’ll need a larger pan!
Even if you think that liquid has consumed too quickly or rice is too hard, avoid adding more stock or your paella will be too soupy.
Use the biggest burner on your stove or rotate the pan as much as you need for everything to cook evenly.