This is my version of Spanish Rice with Seafood, a favourite dish around our house. The one thing you really must have, besides the ingredients, is a large, flat-bottomed, shallow pan that heats evenly, in order for this dish to cook properly. I use my electric skillet, and it works every time. It is an unusually shallow and flat one made by an obscure company, and I bought it second hand.
Disclaimer: this is not an authentic paella, nor does it have any pretensions towards being authentically Spanish. However, I am authentically (at least part) Spanish, so I make no apologies for borrowing this recipe from my own family tradition of a meaty Spanish Rice, and altering it to suit my husband’s and my taste for all things seafood. This dish is always a hit with guests, too. I just made another version of this for New Year’s Day, and as it is a very hot summer here in Australia, everyone enjoyed its satisfying light-but-tasty qualities.
This recipe will serve 3-4 as a main dish, or 6-8 as a side dish.
- 1 Kilogram of mixed seafood (the one pictured was made with fresh prawns and calamari, but a mixture of fresh shellfish and fish is very good, too)
- 300 grams short-grain rice (or, authentic paella rice, if you can get it)
- 1 lg or 2 medium red or brown onions
- 1 lg red capsicum
- 2-3 fresh, ripe tomatoes, chopped
- 2-3 cloves fresh garlic, crushed and then chopped (depending on how well you like garlic, or, you may leave it out entirely)
- one bunch of fresh parsley
- fresh lemon wedges
- good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 800 ml high quality seafood or vegetable stock, which should be heated before adding to the rice (note: you need very good broth for this recipe, for depth of flavour)
- A pinch or two of saffron (or, as a cheat, turmeric)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Note: except for cooking the seafood separately before adding it to the rice, everything will be cooked in the one flat, shallow pan.
- In a separate pan, prepare your seafood to taste (for the pictured dish, I simply sauteed the prawns and calamari in a small amount of stock and olive oil).
- In your flat, shallow pan, sautee the onion(s), capsicum, and garlic in 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil for a couple of minutes.
- Stir the rice into the sauteed vegetables and coat it well with the oil.
- Add saffron or turmeric (a pinch or two will do) to your heated seafood or vegetable broth, and then add this mixture to the rice, stirring as you pour.
- Put the lid on your pan and cook until the rice has absorbed the broth and become tender. Note that you may need to check it during the process, and possibly add a bit more broth if it has all absorbed but the rice is not yet done. For this reason, it is a good idea to have a bit of extra stock in reserve. Alternatively, you can add a bit of hot water.
- Once the rice is tender, stir through fresh tomatoes, and then add the seafood to the rice pan, mixing gently to combine.
- Salt and pepper to taste (paprika or cayenne is what I usually use as a pepper).
- Serve topped with fresh, flat-leaf parsley and wedges of lemon.
Good accompaniments to this recipe are a mixed-leaf salad with a tangy vinaigrette, with crusty bread and a light white wine … but what I really drank on this particular evening is the green beverage pictured in the background that looks like battery acid – it’s an absinthe with ice water. I let my watery aperitif (that I did not have time to sip while cooking) become my meal accompaniment. Weird combo, but what can I say? It seemed like a good idea at the time, and it certainly took the edge off a hot night.