Paella a la marinera
Paella might just be the world's most perfect company dish - from the drama of presenting the giant pan at the table, to the beautifully seasoned, addictively flavorful rice. A paella consists of rice and any available ingredients, most often seafood or chorizo.
The dish originated in Valencia of Eastern Spain, a rice-producing region, when farmers out in the fields would cook rice over an open fire, adding available meats such as poultry and rabbit to the mix. It is believed that the dish takes its name from the two handled frying pan on which it is cooked - paella (from Latin "patella" meaning pan).
• About 5 cups shrimp shell stock or 3½ cups clam juice diluted with 1½ cups water (more if using bomba rice)
• 1 large pinch of saffron, pulverized in a mortar
• 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• ½ pound monkfish or other firm-fleshed fish, cut into 1-inch chunks
• Coarse salt (kosher or sea)
• 4 to 6 ounces cleaned squid, bodies and tentacles cut into 1-inch pieces
• 10 medium-size garlic cloves; 8 crushed with a garlic press, 2 minced
• 2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut in half and grated on a box grater, skins discarded
• 1½ teaspoons sweet (not smoked) paprika
• 1¾ cups short- to medium-grain rice
• ½ cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
• 12 small littleneck clams, scrubbed
• 12 jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined
• 2 lemons, cut into wedges, for serving
• Allioli, for serving
1. Place the shrimp stock in a medium-size saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the saffron and keep the stock at a simmer until ready to use.
2. Place 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 15- or 16-inch paella pan set over a single burner and heat on medium until it starts to smoke. Add the monkfish and cook until barely seared, about 1 minute, seasoning it lightly with salt. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fish to a bowl. Cook the squid, stirring, until just seared, about 2 minutes, seasoning it with salt.
3. Push the squid to the edge of the paella pan, where it's not as hot. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the center of the pan. Add the crushed garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes to the center of the pan, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring the tomatoes several times until they are thickened and reduced, 5 to 7 minutes. Using two wooden spoons, push the squid toward the center of the pan and mix it up with the tomatoes. Add the paprika and stir for a few seconds.
4. Preheat the oven to 425º F.
5. Add the rice to the paella pan and stir it gently to coat with the pan mixture. Pour in 3½ cups of the simmering stock (5 cups if you are using bomba rice), keeping the remaining stock simmering in case it is needed later. Set the paella pan over two burners, stir in the parsley and shake the pan gently to distribute the rice evenly. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Periodically move and rotate the pan so that the liquid boils evenly.
6. Press the clams and the monkfish into the top of the rice and cook until the cooking liquid is almost level with the rice but the rice is still rather soupy, another 2 to 3 minutes. If the liquid is absorbed too fast and the rice still seems too raw, sprinkle on some more stock.
7. Transfer the paella pan to the oven and bake until the clams open and the rice is tender but still a little al dente, about 15 minutes. Check the paella a few times and sprinkle more stock over the rice if it seems too al dente. Remove the paella from the oven and discard any clams that have not opened. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and let stand for 5 minutes. Uncover the pan and let stand for another 5 minutes (the rice gets better as it stands).
8. While the rice is standing, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Stir-fry the shrimp, a few at a time, adding some of the minced garlic to each batch, until the shrimp are bright pink and just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per batch. Transfer the shrimp to a bowl and keep warm.
9. To serve, arrange the lemon wedges around the edge of the paella and decorate the top with the shrimp. Serve the paella straight from the pan, along with the allioli, for stirring into the rice. Serves 6 as a first course, 4 as a main course.
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Source: Recipes © 2005 from The New Spanish Table by Anya von Bremzen. Featuring over 300 unique recipes, The New Spanish Table protrays the food and culture of Spain at its most vibrant. The perfect pairing for delicious Spanish wines! (Workman Publishing Co. Inc.)