Paella is an internationally known rice dish from Spain.
It originated in the region of Valencia on the eastern coast of Spain.
The spice that turns the rice a wonderful golden colour is saffron and is an essential part of the dish. In Valencia where it originated, country folk mixed rice with rabbit, snails, and vegetables and cooked it over an open fire. It is still frequently cooked on an open fire but has evolved into Spain’s most well-known dish in which fish, shellfish, meat, pork and chicken might be variously used.
The rice is crucial and needs to be a paella rice a short grain variety.
Unlike Risotto, stiring is absolutely forbidden, you are aiming for a tender, but not creamy result. The crusty, crispy bottom of the paella that becomes caramelized and toasted is known as the ‘socarrat’ and is a highly prized delicacy.
4 raw unshelled prawns
150g baby squid cut into rings
150g monkfish cut in chunks
200g short grain rice
3-4 cloves garlic
500ml fish stock
1 onion finely chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
Pinch of saffron
250g chopped toms
50ml dry white wine
150g broad beans/peas
Flat leaf parsley & lemon wedges to garnish
Shell the prawns and put the flesh to one side. Heat some olive oil in a large pan and add a clove of garlic with the prawn heads and tails. Add the stock and simmer for 30 minutes, strain and season. Keep the stock warm.
In a 26 cm paella pan or something similar add some olive oil and brown the monkfish, remove and set aside. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened. Add the paprika and cook for one minute. Tip the tomatoes and wine in and turn the heat up and simmer for 10 minutes add the squid and the beans.
Stir in the rice and coat well. Stir in 400 ml of stock and the saffron. Simmer for 10 minutes then arrange the monkfish muscles and prawns on top of the dish pushing them into the rice but otherwise not disturbing it, cook for eight minutes. If dry add the remaining stock, but remember it should not be soupy.
Take the pan off the heat cover with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes. Garnish with lemon wedges and flat leaf parsley.