Adapted from recipes by Penelope Casas and Sarah Jay
Serves 4, for 14-inch paellera.
- 3.5 Cups shrimp or fish broth
- Pinch of saffron threads, toasted
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 12 large shrimp, peeled with tails on
- 8 large scallops
- 12 frozen mussels on the half shell, thawed (look for these at your local supermarket, see note below)
- 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
- 1/2 medium onion, grated on largest holes in box grater
- 3 oz oyster mushrooms, stemmed and cleaned, coarsely chopped
- 2 small tomatoes, cut in half then grated with the largest holes on a box grater, discard the skins
- 12 strips of roasted red peppers, or roasted piquillo pepper
- 1 1/2 cups bomba rice
- 1-2 Tbsp flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped for garnish
- Lemon cut into wedges for serving
First, make sure you read the information at the beginning of this article about building the fire and setting up the cooker.
Bring the shrimp or fish stock to a simmer. Lightly toast the saffron threads in a small heavy skillet, then add them to the hot stock. Keep just hot until ready to add to the pan later.
Place your paellera in your ceramic cooker on a raised grid and allow to heat up, as described earlier. Add enough olive oil for sauteeing. Add the shrimp and scallops sautee for about 2 minutes. You only want to partially cook them. Set aside on a platter.
Place the onion, garlic and mushrooms in the pan. Sautee for about 3-5 minutes. When the onion is translucent, add the tomato to the pan and stir with the onion, cooking until all the water is cooked out of the tomato and the resulting mixture darkens and thickens to a paste, 5-10 minutes.
Add the rice to the sofrito and sautee 1-2 minutes until the rice is translucent. (If you want to add smoking chunks to the fire, do it now while you can remove the pan and the grid easily. You don't want to move the pan after the hot stock is added.) Then add the hot stock to the pan. Give the pan a shake, or gently stir the rice so as to distribute an even layer of rice all across the entire pan. Once evenly distributed, you don't want to move the rice again.
Close the lid of your cooker and bring the temperature to 350 degrees, dome temperature. Allow the rice to cook and absorb the stock. Once the liquid has almost disappeared below the level of the rice (you can raise the lid occasionally or possibly look down through the top vent, if possible, with a flashlight), open the cooker and gently place the shrimps, scallops and pepper strips on top of the rice. Then lay the mussels in their shells on top of the other ingredients.
Close the lid of your cooker and allow the rice to finish cooking. Listen for the rice to start crackling. Rotate the pan front to back occasionally if your cooker is hotter in the back than in the front. Once you hear the rice begin to crackle, occasionally test the rice for the soccarat as described earlier. You may find that you want to open the bottom vent to increase the heat of the fire in order to help form the soccarat. When you feel the paella is done, remove the pan from the cooker and allow to rest, covered with foil, for about 5 minutes before serving. Sprinkle the chopped parsley over the top for garnish.
- We used mussels that were partially cooked and then flash-frozen, available at our local supermarket. If you use fresh/live mussels, you will need to scrub them and cleanse them of grit by allowing them to soak in salted water in the refrigerator overnight. Sprinkle a tablespoon of cornmeal over the water before refrigerating. To prepare them for use in the paella, boil them in a covered skillet using 2/3 cup of water or wine, removing them to a plate as they open. If you desire, you can use the remaining broth as the base for your stock, adding enough fish or shrimp stock to make 3.5 cups.
- Note that in this seafood paella, we did not add the seafood to the dish until after the rice had cooked for a while. The seafood requires less cooking than chicken, so we waited to add it until later in the cook.
- We have to admit that the paella pictured above has too many pieces of seafood. Remember the rice should take center stage, so you might wish to reduce the number of shrimp and mussels.