Sunday, August 28, 2011

Paella de Mariscos (Seafood Paella)

Paella de Mariscos/ Seafood Paella is typically short grain rice cooked with well a mixture of seafood. In my family it's well the only thing they consider "Paella" Now variations with sausage, pork, chicken etc. combined with seafood we call it "Paella Mixta"/ Mixed Paella (mixed Paella because well it mixes meat and seafood)

Now to all those purist who argue on how a Paella is made, just so you know the AUTHENTIC Paella from VALENCIA Spain resembles nothing of what a Paella is thought of around the world. The AUTHENTIC PAELLA called "Paella Valenciana" it is made with olive oil, rabbit, snails, some type of broad beans, grated tomato, garlic, smoked paprika, rosemary, a good stock and short-grain rice. Nothing more nothing less. How Paella evolved into many, many other variations I don't know hehe, but hey the more the merrier right? and for those that say you can only make it using "Saffron" and otherwise it's taboo I wanna say bull $h!t, yes saffron has a nice fragrance but many people in Spain use "Colorante Alimentario" when makiing Paella which is a powdered coloring that makes rices yellow, when I use that I use a brand called "Bijol" which is available in most Latin stores in the states. In my opinion the key to a good Paella is cooking down the aromatics (garlic, tomato, onion whatever you used) and having a very good flavorful stock, also water to rice ratio.

Now that I got that out of the way MY VERSION of Paella, my version of Paella is made with only seafood shrimp, mussels/ clams, calamari, scallops or fish chunks cooked in a seafood stock with spices and a good sofrito of onions, garlic, and bell peppers. Garnished with fire roasted red bell peppers and peas. This recipe is a combination of my 86 year old grandmothers recipe well what I know works in the kitchen (she insisted the one her father made had cumin and sweet smoked spanish paprika so I used them in this Paella, and she didn't want any tomato in the sofrito so that's what I went with and after all today when I made this Paella I made it for her, and my goal was well to make her happy so what she said goes :)

Ingredients for stock:
-water (enough to fill a large pot half way)
-shrimp shells (reserved from peeling shrimp)
-mussel or clam broth (reserved from opening the clams or mussels)
-salt to taste

Main Ingredients:

-1 lbs. short grain rice (3 cups)
-1 large squid (cleaned, gutted, skin removed, cut into rings, or squares)
-1 lbs. shrimp, cleaned, de-veined, shells removed and reserved to make stock
-1 lbs. mussels or clams (or a mix of both I used just mussels this time)
-1/2 lbs. firm white fish filets cut into chunks or scallops (optional your choice I like em in there I used scallops this time)
-1 onion minced
-1 green or red bell pepper minced
-4-6 cloves garlic finely minced
-1/2-1 cup dry white wine or 1 can of a light colored beer
-1 tablespoon "Pimenton" (sweet smoked Spanish paprika)
-1/2 tsp. ground cumin -1- 2 bay leaves
-powdered saffron or "colorante alimentario" or "bijol" to give the rice it's yellow color
-6 cups of a good seafood stock (see recipe)

Ingredients for garnishes
-1 fire roasted red bell pepper (cut into strips)
-1 handful of peas

Directions for stock:
(1) Grab the reserved shrimp shells, throw in pot with water, bring to a boil and leave alone for about 10- 15 minutes then turn off heat, and strain. Set aside.

(2) Meanwhile get mussels or clams, scrub them well, and put in a small pot with oil heat stirring occasionally until they open. They will release juice, strain the juices through a very fine strainer, reserve them and add it to your shrimp stock.

(3) Very simple right that's the stock you will use to cook your rice :) NOW PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING I understand some will buy pre-cooked frozen mussels or clams, and their shrimp will already be peeled thus not being able to make the stock from scratch, that is OK don't freak out, instead of making the stock use water but be sure to boil the water and add 2 cubes of shrimp bouillon and set it aside, it's not EXACTLY the same but it will work, or buy a good quality seafood stock.

Directions for making the Paella:
(1) Heat a very generous amount of olive oil over high heat in a large wide pan (preferably a Paellera) if you don't have one use a gigantic non-stick pan, or large wide round metal pan either will work. Add your calamari/ squid to the oil and stir, it will release juices allow it to reduce until it's just oil.

(2) Now add your garlic, onions, bell pepper and bay leaves stir occasionally and lower heat to medium high. Allow this mixture to cook 5-8 minutes until fragrant and translucent.

(3) Add your rice, sweet smoked spanish paprika & cumin and give it a good stir so everything get's mixed, well.
(4) Add your boiling/ hot seafood stock (that you either made yourself, or used bouillon cube, or bought pre-made). Add your saffron (I grinded about 1 tsp. in a mortar) or you can use about 1/2 - 1 tsp bijol or other substance that will color the rice yellow. Allow everything to come to a boil over high heat, give a good stir and allow to boil over high heat uncovered approximately 10 minutes, then lower heat to medium high and allow to boil uncovered another 8 minutes,

(5) Add your raw shrimp, scallops or fish filets and press into the Paella lightly, insert the mussels and clams and allow to cook uncovered an additional 4 minutes or so. Remove from heat, cover with a cloth, and allow to rest 5- 10 minutes

Directions for garnish (optional)
(1) Arrange fire roasted red bell peppers cut into strips and scatter peas over the paella just for some eye appeal I guess :) To make your own fire roasted red bell pepper, simply put the red bell pepper fresh over a flame on your stove and move around with tongs until charred all over, wrap in plastic bag and allow to sweat for about 5-10 minutes, then peel off skin and slice into long strips :)

Yeah sorry I didn't take so many pictures, but I still havent gotten a new camera, bummed one of my dad for the day, and got lost having conversations with the family and socializing while being in the kitchen that I forgot to take pictures of every step. I will re-blog this again but just wanted to share :)
Also if you guys want to see some interesting variations of Paella type dishes check out my post for "Paella de Nabo Con Costilla de Cerdo y Coliflor" (mixed rice dish of turnip, cauliflower and pork ribs) that dish is a family favorite. Also for something American that is just as delicious check out my post for "Jambalaya" (which is another one of my favorite rice dishes) can't forget the "Arroz Con Pollo" (yellow rice and chicken) I also make a pretty killer "soupy rice with chicken" we call "Arroz Caldoso Con Pollo" some Cubans call it "Arroz Con Pollo a la Chorrera"
I didn't do it this time, but I would've loved to add fresh grated tomato to the "sofrito" or prepared tomato sauce but I didn't because I know my grandmother doesn't like it when people add tomato to mixed yellow rice dishes. Also I like to serve mine with lime or lemon wedges because well in my opinion it brightens it up however my parents and grandmother do not eat it that way they :)