Easy Spanish Seafood Paella in a Skillet

I haven’t been to Spain yet. But my intro to Spanish Food happened a few months back at my Date Night Pop-Up Restaurant. which my husband and I host every weekend. The concept is special. My husband and I host a couple at our home for brunch or dinners over the weekends. I cook a 4 course meal from a cuisine of the guest’s choice. During the meal, my husband, Pratyush, plays live music for the couple. We set up our dining table a for the couple with candles and cutlery and dim lights to create the perfect moment.
 
So our first guest requested me to cook a 4 course Spanish meal for her date with her boyfriend at our place. It was his birthday and she wanted to surprise him with a good Spanish meal as Spanish Cuisine is his favourite. You don’t get Spanish food in Mumbai anywhere. Well, I must say I was quite nervous as I hadn’t cooked much of Spanish food except for Spanish omelettes. But then this is my forte right. I made a beautiful menu for them and was looking forward to cooking good traditional Paella. But, my guest said she wasn’t sure if he liked seafood and since it was a surprise, we didn’t want to ask them. So I ended up making a Arroz Con Pollo, a chicken and rice dish instead.  The night turned out to be beautiful. Our first couple guest loved my food and Pratyush’s kick ass guitar playing.
 
But the night was over without a Paella and my heart was stuck at that dish. So, I cooked it up for my favorite foodie, my  husband, who had a lot of Paella when he was travelling in Spain. To master this dish, I tried many recipes  from various sites to make a good Paella. One of the paella recipes I tried was from www.eatwhatweeat.com.  The author of this blog, Becky, makes some amazing family meals and her knowledge of food is pretty good. The recipe I am sharing below is an inspiration from Becky’s recipe.
 
The secret of a good Paella rests on 4 things: a Paella pan, thick short grained rice like bomba or arborio, a mixture of different seafood and/or meats, and saffron. If you have these ingredients in your kitchen, you can whack this dish out with ease. A good paella requires this slight crustation of the rice at the bottom of the pan. That’s why you need a paella pan.I don’t have a Paella pan so i used my Iron Skillet.  It did the job.

seafood-paella-full Serves: 4

Prep Time: 10 mins 

Cooking time: 35 mins 

Availability: Need any risotto rice which you can get easily from Nature’s Basket

Food Mood: 

  • Taste Palate:Light and Refreshing, less spicy
  • Ambiance: A hearty Meal with family on your dining table
  • Music: Some Jazz or Blues in the background to help keep the conversations flowing

 Ingredients

  1. 1 cup, Arborio Rice (Risotto Rice)
  2. 2 cups, Chicken broth or Seafood broth (or mix equal quantities of both)
  3. 1 pinch of saffron
  4. 400 gm mix of different seafood. I used king prawns and Sea bass. Must use mussels if you get them. dice them in small cubes
  5. 1 cup of fresh green peas (you can use frozen too)
  6. 2 Onions, finely chopped
  7. 3 bulbs of Garlic, bashed and diced
  8. 1 capsicum/bell pepper, diced in small cubes
  9. ½ tsp, cayenne pepper powder
  10. 1 tsp, smoked pepper powder
  11. 1 tsp, sweet paprika powder
  12. 1 tsp, salt
  13. A handful of parsley or coriander leaves, diced
  14. 1 lemon, quartered,
  15. 1 lemon, halved
  16. 2 tbsp, Olive Oil

Method

  1. Keep hot broth ready on the side and add the saffron. Let it infuse in the hot broth
  2. In a hot paella pan or iron skillet, add the oil, garlic and onions.
  3. Saute the onions till they turn translucent pink
  4. Then add all the peppers – capsicum and the 3 pepper powder. You can add some diced chorizo as well if you have them at home.
  5. Add the rice and stir in the broth
  6. Add salt, mix well and put a lid on the skillet for 20 mins. Don’t stir the rice during this at all, as you want to form a nice crustation at the bottom. The proof of a Paella lies in this crustation
  7. Now, open the lid and spread the seafood that you have over rice evenly. Put the lid back on and cook for another 10 mins. If you see that the rice is drying up, add a quarter cup of broth. Unlike a risotto, the rice needs to be slightly overcooked for this dish
  8. Take the pan off the heat
  9. To serve, squeeze the halved lemon all over the rice, sprinkle the parsley or coriander leaves generously and decorate the quartered lemons on top 
  10. Serve the paella in the skillet itself at the centre of the table. Its looks spectacular to serve food looking hearty and happy like that.
  11. Make sure that you squeeze some more lime while having the Paella.

Food Marriage Tips:

  1. Most Mediterranean food requires Olive Oil. Don’t compromise on it
  2. Lemon and Seafood – match made in heaven. Always keep lemon slices that you can squeeze on top while eating any seafood.
  3. Using chicken broth for cooking rice makes the rice more flavoursome. When I don’t have fresh broth I use chicken cubes. Not ideal, but then the girl’s gotta eat. It is still better than using water.

PS: If you want to book a date night for your partner with us, just email us dontgiveafork@gmail.com. You can book any weekend with us this month after 20th December for a romantic meal from a cuisine of your choice and some good jazz and blues live music performance

 

 

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