Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Spanish Seafood Paella with Jasmin Rice Recipe

Spanish Seafood Paella with Jasmin Rice
By: Chef Cristian

When I find fresh Seafood, the first word that comes to my mind is "Paella!". This dish brings back childhood memories, and after all these years it's still one of those dishes that I find exciting to cook and delicious to eat.

A Paella is a baked (or charcoal simmered) rice dish typical of Spain. The basic Paella would be a white rice simmered in saffron infused stock, sauteed onions and peppers. From this versatile base people started coming up with all sorts of different variations. You can add anything from chicken wings to the classic mixture of seafood to this dish. Maybe that's why after all these years I still find the Paella an exciting dish to prepare. You can always add different ingredients to it.

In this recipe I will be using fresh seafood as the main flavouring ingredients. I will also be using Jasmine rice to add an exotic scent to this dish. I was out of White Rice one day, and decided to use Jasmin Rice instead. To my surprise, it turned out to be a fantastic combination of scents and flavour. I hope you will agree with me!
Make sure that you have a roasting pan with a lid that you can use, both, on the stove and in the oven.

NOTE: When buying Shrimp, you will often see numbers such as 8/12, 16/20, 31/40, etc writen on the package. That means "Shrimp Per Pound". So the smaller the number, the bigger the shrimp. For example, in a package of 8/12 shrimp, it would only take 8 to 12 shrimp to make a pound. Whereas it would take 31 to 40 Shrimp to make up a pound in a bag of smaller Shrimp.

YIELD: 6-8 portions

2 Cups of Jasmin Rice
4 Cups of Chicken, or Fish Stock (I used Fish Stock)
1 Lb of Tiger Shrimp shelled and deveined (I used size 21-24)
1 Lb of Squid cleaned and cut into rings
.5 Lb of your favourite fish fillet cut into 1 inch cubes (I used Cod Fillets)
(optional) 1 Lb of cleaned Mussels and/or Pasta Clams
.5 Lb of Sea Scallops
1 large Spanish Onion Diced
2 Large Red Bell Peppers Diced
1/2 cup of peas
1 handfull of chopped Parsley
1/3 cup of Manzanilla Olives with Pimentos Chopped
2 Tbsp of Capers
3 cloves of Garlic minced
Very fragrant olive oil (I recommend Greek or Portuguese olive oil)
Salt and Pepper to taste


1. The first step in all of my recipes is to prepare all your ingredients. This means that you mix, chop, cut, dice, and prepare everything you’re going to need! For this recipe you should prepare:
- The fish or chicken stock
- The seafood should be prepared and stored in fridge until ready to cook
- Diced Onions, Olives, Peppers and Minced Garlic

2. Place roasting pan on stovetop (if it's large, you may have to use two burners at the same time) and bring to med high heat. Pre-heat oven to 360 degrees.

3. Add enough olive oil to slightly coat the bottom surface of the pan and add the onions, peppers, garlic, capers, olives and parsley. Sautee the vegetables for 10-15 mins until the onions become translucent. Keep things moving with a wooden spoon to avoid burning the garlic.

4. Add all the seafood and sautee for another 15 minutes until it has released all its liquid. You will see the pan start to fill up with water. These are the juices of the seafood and will be one of the main flavourings of this dish. At this point you can add the pinch of saffron. Notice the color change to a nice yellow or orange.

5. Add the rice followed by the stock and the peas. Adjust the salt and pepper (make sure it's very flavourful). Bring to a simmer. As soon as it starts to simmer, give it one big stir, place the lid on the roasting pan and place it in the oven. Cook for 30-40 mins. Do not open lid during this time.

6. Remove the pan from the oven and open up the lid. Add a couple of swirls of olive oil and stir once. Let the paella rest for 10 minutes before serving.

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