All Seafood - All the Time Paella

By Dwight Collins, Fishmonger and Owner of Newman’s Fish Company

 Two pans of this delicious paella were made to feed the crowds attending the SquareOne Villages Paella Fest 2015 at Sweet Cheeks Winery.

Two pans of this delicious paella were made to feed the crowds attending the SquareOne Villages Paella Fest 2015 at Sweet Cheeks Winery.

A seafood lover’s delight, this Paella recipe was prepared for our local Paellafest 2015 and again at the SquareOne Villages Paella Fest.  Paella is the centerpiece of a family gathering or a feast with friends, It takes some practice to get a feel for cooking times to cook the rice perfectly. You can modify it with your favorite seafood and make it your own, but a few rules in making the rice need to be followed.  Don’t rinse the rice.  Don’t stir the rice after it begins to simmer.  Don’t start cooking the rice until everyone is present.

Prep time:  45 minutes
Cook time:  40 minutes
Serves: 12-14 (18"-24" paella pan)

6      Cloves garlic, diced
1       Large yellow onion, diced into ¼” pieces
6 T.   Extra virgin olive oil, enough to coat the pan
1        Green pepper, julienne sliced
1        Red pepper, julienne sliced
1        Yellow pepper, julienne sliced
½ T.   Sweet Paprika
½ T.   Smokey Paprika
1-28 oz can Italian Tomatoes
1 t.     Salt (2 pinches)
Couple of pinches of Saffron, about 20 threads
12 c.   Fish stock, added as needed for type of rice**
4 c.    Bomba rice, or medium grain rice (use less fish broth for medium grain rice)***
1 lb.   Scallops, small
1 lb.   Firm-fleshed white fish, deboned and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 lb.   Medium shrimp, tails and shells removed and deveined
1 doz. Raw, deveined shrimp with shells intact and split
3-4    Clams per person, rinsed and drained
½ lb.   Squid, cut into 2 by ½  inch pieces (optional)
½ lb.   Green beans, blanched (may substitute another vegetable in season)

In an 18"- 24" paella* pan, sauté diced garlic and diced onion in olive oil until flavors are released and just starting to turn brown. Add the peppers and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until the peppers brown and become fragrant, about 3 minutes.  Lower the heat to medium-low and stir in the two paprika seasonings, tomatoes, and two pinches of salt, and cook 5 minutes.  Sprinkle in the saffron and stir to let the flavors mingle.  Sprinkle in the rice and mix to coat.  Add in approximately 11 cups of the fish stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring to completely mix all the ingredients.  Turn the heat to medium and let the rice simmer.  Probe with a wooden spoon to make sure the rice is evenly distributed,  Cook for 10 minutes.  Keep remaining 1 cup of fish stock on stove, on low heat, and add in small increments, as needed, to areas of the paella pan where rice doesn't look cooked (the grains will be whiter).  Do not stir again.  Lay the scallops, white fish, both types of shrimp, clams, squid (optional), and blanched green beans evenly across the rice mixture and cook uncovered for 10 minutes on medium-low heat and 5 minutes covered to finish cooking the fish. Turn off heat, keep covered and let rest for 5 minutes.  Serve.

* Paella pans are wide, shallow, and made of thin conductive metal, with sloping sides and two handles.  They ensure the rice can be cooked in a thin layer and allow for evaporation of the liquid while the rice cooks so the paella has a desired dry texture.

** Fish Stock:  A good fish stock is important for building the flavor of the rice. Fish stock can be purchased at Newman's Fish Market on Willamette or you can make your own.  The following recipe makes 12 cups of stock.

1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, chopped
5 lbs. white fish bones
12 c. water
15 sprigs of parsley, chopped
2-3 c. shrimp shells

Put all ingredients in a stock pot and bring to a boil.  Turn heat down and simmer for 1-2 hours.  Strain and reserve the stock.  Discard solids.  Can be used immediately or cooled, covered and stored refrigerated for 2 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

*** About the Rice: Use short-grain Bomba rice or medium-grain rice, not long-grain or parboiled rice. Estimate 1/3 cup rice per person if you have lots of seafood in the paella. Short-grain Bomba rice takes slightly more liquid than medium-grain rice. The ratio of stock to rice is 3:1.