How to Cook Seafood Paella
Seafood paella is a classic Spanish dish composed of lobster and other seafood, rice, and vegetables. In Spain, there are many regional variations on the dish, which can be made with either chicken or seafood stock and accented with chorizo and chicken if you wish. Here is a simple but traditional seafood paella recipe, that is used all over Spain. This dish serves four to six people.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
2 red bell peppers, cored and sliced
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 cups medium grain rice
5 cups chicken or fish stock
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound cooked lobster meat
1 pound mussels
1/2 pound squid, chopped into pieces
1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas
Making the Base
Heat the oil in a paella pan.Paella pans are wide, metal pans that can be used on the stove or on a grill. Pour in the olive oil and heat it over medium heat on a burner or an outdoor grill.
Sautee the onions and peppers.Add the chopped onions first, cooking them until they become translucent.Next add the bell peppers and sauté until they're bright and slightly soft.
Add the garlic.Lower the heat first, so the garlic won't burn, then sprinkle it over the onions and peppers. Let the mixture cook for another 2 minutes.
Add the squid.sauté the pieces on one side for three minutes, then turn them over to sauté the other side. Cook them long enough to impart their flavor to the base, but not so long that they're entirely cooked through.
- Stir the squid to keep the pieces from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Add a little more oil to the pan if the squid starts to stick before it's finished sauteing.
Cooking the Rice
Add the rice.Stir it into the mixture so that it gets coated in oil and bits of squid. Use a wooden spoon to incorporate the rice into the onions, peppers and squid. Cook until the rice begins to smell toasty and fragrant.
Pour in the stock and spices.Add three cups of the stock, the red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to loosen the frying onions and peppers and stir the mixture together. Turn up the heat to bring it to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer and let the paella cook.
- Do not stir the rice and other ingredients after you pour in the broth.
- As the rice cooks and absorbs the broth, slowly add more broth 1/2 cup at a time. Continue adding broth until the rice is completely cooked.
Finishing the Dish
Stir in the lobster and peas.Distribute the pieces evenly around the pan, so that each area has an equal amount of lobster meat and a liberal portion of peas.
Arrange the mussels around the pan.Line them up around the edge. Some cooks like to make a patter with the mussels for a pretty effect; you could also scatter them evenly around the paella dish.
Cover the dish and remove it from heat.The lobster and mussels will cook in the hot paella once it is covered. Let the seafood steam for 10 minutes. Remove the cover and check to make sure the seafood is completely cooked.
- The lobster meat should be opaque and tender when it's finished cooking.
- The mussel shells should be open; if you think the dish is finished cooking, but some mussels remain closed, discard them.
Serve the paella.Place the big paella dish in the center of the table so that guests may serve themselves. Offer slices of lemon to go with the dish.
QuestionCan I use meats other than seafood?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerChicken is often used in paella. Pork or another type of fowl would also work well.Thanks!
QuestionWhat do I use to make the paella yellow?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerSaffron, you can buy it in thread or powder form, the powder is cheaper.Thanks!
QuestionWhat are the small leafy ingredients topping the paella meal?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt is parsley, it looks similar to coriander or cilantro, but tastes very different.Thanks!
- Use a large skillet or frying pan if you don't have a paella dish.
- Add more stock or water if needed during the cooking process.
- The difficulty of preparing this dish is getting the rice neither overcooked nor undercooked.
Sources and Citations
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