Paella. A famous Spanish rice dish originally came from the third largest city in Spain – Valencia. And because of its perfect climate and soil to grow rice, naturally Valencia has became a rice farming region and rice is what’s the farmer will eat.
After a long day working on the rice’s field the farmers will gathering what ever they got fresh – such as vegetable, chicken, rabbit, frog and even snails and cook them with rice, they call it paella Valenciana. And this rice dish passed to Barcelona.
People living in Barcelona don’t see themselves as Spanish but Catalan, and the Catalan people love seafood, so they started cooking this rice dish with variety of different seafood, they call it Paella Marinera or with squid ink rice - Paella Negra and make this dish as their own.
So, if you are in Barcelona, you will see almost every restaurant selling this dish and almost everyone who orders it is not local because locals like to cook it at home. Paella is a happy food, best is to share it with people you love over couple bottles of red wine, after all paella is about celebrating life and harvest.
Like many traditional cooking every house has its own way to do it and here is mine.
Paella Marinera, serves 6 – 8
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
6 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
200g onion, finely chopped
1 red peppers, seeded and chopped into small pieces
1 green peppers, seeded and chopped into small pieces
1 tsp saffron strands
1kg short-grain paella rice
1 liters fish stock
1 liters chicken stock
400g raw prawns, peeled the prawn and leave their head for later use
500g small clams, washed
50g anchovies, finely chopped into very small almost paste like pieces
600g squid, cut into bite size pieces
350g large mussels, cleaned
600g calamari rings
8-10 cooked langoustines
Place a 50cm – 60 cm paella pan/deep fry pan over 2 burners on a medium heat. Add the oilve oil and garlic and, as soon as the garlic begins to sizzle, add the prawn heads and anchovies, fry them together until you smell the fragrance of the prawn heads and anchovies, squeeze the prawn heads, so the juice inside the head will be mixed with the olive oil, now you put in the onion and fry for 5–6 minutes, put in some wine and fry until onion soft and sweet.
You will need to turn the pan every 2 to 3 minutes throughout the cooking time so that everything cooks evenly. Add the red and green peppers and fry for 5 minutes until the peppers are just softened. Stir in the squid rings and stir-fry for 3–4 minutes, add the rice and saffron, scatter the prawns and clams around the pan, and stir everything together well. Add the stock and 2 teaspoons of salt and bring to the boil, stirring briefly to redistribute the ingredients around the pan.
Leave to simmer for 6 minutes over a medium-high heat, but do not stir it any more, remembering to give the pan a turn, reduce the heat to medium. At the same time prepare other small frying pan , put in olive oil, garlic and give the mussels, langoustines a quick stir fried for 20 second, then arrange the mussels and langoustines evenly around paella pan and push them down slightly into the rice. Leave to cook for further 15 minutes without stirring, by which time all the liquid will be absorbed and the surface of the rice should be pitted with small holes.
Turn off the heat, cover the pan with a clean towel and leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serve warm straight from the pan.