an indescribable dish, lying at the nexus of poverty and wealth. the deliciously easy spanish equivalent of party rice…olé! i generally used to use the ever cryptic larousse gastronomique recipe but i’ve made it so often i go off the cuff these days. as an introduction here is rick stein’s recipe: he’s ever so thorough…
A seafood paella from the Costa Verde in Cantabria (Paella de Barrio Pescadores)
Serves 6 - 8
500g prepared medium-sized squid, cut into 3cm pieces
5 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
150g shallot, finely chopped
1½ red peppers, seeded and chopped into 1cm pieces
1½ green peppers, seeded and chopped into 1cm pieces
1½ tsp pimentón picante (smoked hot Spanish paprika)
225g large raw peeled prawns
500g small clams, such as carpetshell, washed
600g short-grain paella rice, such as Calasparra
1 heaped tsp loosely packed saffron strands
1.5 litres fish stock
250g large mussels, cleaned
6–8 cooked langoustines or unpeeled cooked crevettes
Dry the squid well on kitchen paper, season with salt and set to one side. Place a 40–50cm paella pan over 2 burners on a medium heat. Add the oil and garlic and, as soon as the garlic begins to
sizzle, add the shallot and fry for 5–6 minutes until soft and sweet, turning the pan every few minutes so that everything cooks evenly.
You will need to do this throughout the cooking time. Add the red and green peppers and pimentón, and fry for 5 minutes until the peppers are just softened. Stir in the squid and stir-fry for 3–4 minutes until it becomes white and opaque.
Scatter the prawns and clams around the pan, add the rice and saffron, and stir everything together well. Add the stock and 2½ teaspoons of salt and bring to the boil, stirring briefly to redistribute the ingredients around the pan.
Leave to simmer vigorously for 6 minutes over a medium-high heat, but do not stir it any more, remembering to give the pan a turn every 2 minutes. Then reduce the heat to medium, arrange the mussels and langoustines or crevettes evenly around the pan and push them down slightly into the rice. Leave to cook for a further 14 minutes, again without stirring, by which time all the liquid will have been absorbed and the surface of the rice should be pitted with small holes.
Turn off the heat, cover the pan with a clean tea towel and leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serve warm straight from the pan.