Easy Paella with Shrimp, clams and mussels
Paella is one of the most famous seafood dish in any Spanish cuisine. It does not matter if you come from North, south or center of Spain, everyone has their favorite paella recipe. Below recipe is adopted from a southern region of Spain, hopefully you will like it as much as I enjoyed cooking it.
This is a fairly quick paella with minimal pre-cooking. It will take about 30 minutes to prepare and 20 to 30 minutes to cook.
•6 oz. shrimp, peeled (reserve the shells for broth) and patted dry
•1 small bottle clam juice
•Pinch saffron threads
•1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
•6 oz. dry scallops, patted dry
•4 oz. calamari, cut in rings (optional), patted dry
•1/2 onion, grated on the largest holes of a box grater
•6 garlic cloves, peeled
•1 tomato, halved and grated on a box grater (discard the skin)
•1 1/2 cups medium grain rice
•8 small clams or mussels (or both), scrubbed
•2 lemons, cut in wedges
1. In a medium saucepan, bring 4 1/2 cups of salted water to a boil. Add the shrimp shells and clam juice and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes. Strain the broth, and return it to the saucepan. Toast the saffron gently in a skillet (just until aromatic, 1 to 2 minutes and add to the broth. Let sit off the heat.
2. In a pan, heat the oil just until it's hot. Sauté the shrimp, scallops, and calamari (if using) until just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
3. Reduce the heat to medium and sauté the onion and garlic until the onion softens, about 5 min. Add the tomato season with salt, and cook, stirring often, until the mixture has darkened to a deep burgundy and 15 to 20 min. If it starts to stick to the pan or burn, add a little water.
4. Bring the broth back to a simmer. Add the rice to the pan with the sofrito, and cook for 1 to 2 min. Raise the heat to medium-high. Pour in 4 1/2 cups of the broth (reserve the rest) and stir or shake the pan to evenly distribute the rice. Arrange the clams (if using) in the pan, submerging them as much as possible below the level of the liquid. From this point on, do not stir the rice.
5. Simmer vigorously, moving the pan over one and two burners to distribute the heat and to cook the rice as evenly as possible. When the rice is at the same level as the liquid, after 8 to 10 min., reduce the heat to medium low. Arrange the mussels in the pan.
6. Continue to simmer more gently, until the liquid has been absorbed, about 10 min. more. Taste a grain just below the top layer of rice; it should be al dente, with a tiny white dot in the center. (If the rice is not done but all the liquid has been absorbed, add a bit of broth and cook a few minutes more.) Arrange the shrimp, scallops, and calamari in the pan, and add any juices to the rice.
7. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook for about 2 min., until the bottom layer of rice starts to caramelize. Remove the pan from the heat. Cover loosely with foil or a clean kitchen towel and let the paella rest for 5 min and enjoy with good bottle of Spanish wine.