Although I’m Spanish by heritage, I’ve only had paella a handful of times in my life. I remember eating at the Spanish American Club in San Francisco with my family and my uncle and cousins when I was about 13 years old. We had tapas and arroz con pollo and paella, and it was all incredibly delicious!
Now, I don’t have a paella pan yet, but I do plan on getting one as there was not nearly enough of the burnt bottom crust in my version of the dish, but a Dutch oven is a fine alternative.
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 thick slices bacon
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 bell pepper, I used red, but any colour will do
- 2 cups bomba, calasparra, or arborio rice
- 2 tsp fresh chopped oregano’
- 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
- 4 cups bottled clam juice
- 2 spanish chorizo sausages, sliced
- 4 canned san marzano tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tsp saffron threads
- 3/4 lb. prawns
- 3/4 lb. bass filets, skin and pin bones removed
- 3/4 lb. squid
- 1 lb. mussels, scrubbed and debearded (optional)
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup thawed frozen baby peas
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
In a heavy flameproof casserole dish or dutch oven, over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, and add the onions and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and bell pepper and cook until soft, about 5 minutes longer. Stir in the rice, oregano, coriander, and cook, stirring, until the rice is opaque, about 2 minutes. Heat the stock, and add it with the chorizo, tomatoes, and saffron. Mix well, cover and cook over low heat until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is almost tender, about 25 minutes. Stir occasionally as the rice cooks, and add a splash of water if it becomes dry.
As the rice is cooking, prepare the seafood. Shell and devein the shrimp. Cut the squid into 1/4 inch rings. Cut the fish filets into 1 inch cubes. Set all of the seafood aside.
Meanwhile, put the mussels and wine in a covered pot, discarding any that do not close to the touch. Steam the mussels until the shells open, about 5 minutes. Discard any that fail to open. Remove the mussels and set aside. Strain the broth through a fine sieve lined with a cheesecloth or coffee filter placed over a bowl. Add the shrimp, squid, fish, peas, and mussell broth to the paella and cook for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.