Seafood Paella Recipe

Photo Credit: Elena Eryomenko/Shutterstock

Paella de marisco (seafood paella) is a community food I discovered during our trip to Spain two years ago. I knew I had to learn the seafood paella recipe right from the start. That’s because I love seafood, and this dish almost accomplishes a miracle: It’s healthy, yet both my children enjoy it.

After cooking it on various occasions, I made it a house tradition to prepare paella for our closest friends when we return from our summer holiday. This year, we’re doing it twice, as more expressed their interest in my dish.

Seafood Paella

(Serve 4 to 6 people)

Ingredients 

  • 8 cups fish or seafood stock
  • 2 cups Spanish bomba rice
  • Half yellow onion, finely chopped
  • Half green bell pepper, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 pound mussels, rinsed and scrubbed
  • 1/2 pound clams, rinsed and scrubbed
  • 1/2 pound squid, cleaned and cut into rings
  • 12-14 head-on shrimp, rinsed
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped parsley, for garnish
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1½ Tablespoons mix of spices (you can make a mix of salt, pepper, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon ground cloves, 1½ teaspoon sweet paprika powder, 1 teaspoon saffron, two laurel leaves)

Instructions   

In the pan, add the olive oil and sauté the onion and the green pepper until the onion becomes translucent. Keep the fire medium-low. 

Push the onion and pepper on the side of the pan and add the shrimp. Cook it for two and a half minutes, then remove from the pan and set aside.   

Add the squid and cook for about 10 minutes, mixing it with the onion and pepper. Then mix in the tomato paste and the spices. 

Immediately add the mussels and clams. At this point, you can add ⅓ cup of fish stock to help them open.

After a few more minutes, spread the rice evenly in the pan and add around 6 cups of stock. You mustn’t stir the rice. If it needs more liquid, you can add up to 1½ cups of fish stock, but remember that paella shouldn’t be wet or sticky, but slightly dry.   

Halfway through cooking, you can sprinkle the chopped parsley. Remember that you shouldn’t stir the rice.   

Let the rice cook for around 15 minutes. At this moment, you should taste it to check if it’s cooked. Two minutes before removing from heat, layer the shrimp on top of the rice. Let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes before eating. Ideally, you should bring the pan to the table and allow your guests to serve themselves directly.     

Some Tricks I’ve Learned Along the Way

  • I experimented with some of the nonstick frying pans I had at home, but I ended up buying an 18-inch paella pan. It makes the whole process more manageable, and the rice cooks better than in the usual pan.
  • Homemade fish stock is the secret ingredient of this recipe. I make it from fish heads that the supplier is always happy to give away. I rinse the heads and throw them in a pot with water, chopped onion, and two tomatoes. Let them boil for 45 minutes to an hour, and then filter the stock. Keep it hot while making the seafood paella. It’s quick, easy, and very tasty.   
  • The paella mix of spices is pure magic. I tried to make it at home, but I could never obtain the same precise taste as the pre-made mix.     

That’s it! I’ll be honest: Seafood paella isn't the easiest recipe to make. I burned the first paella and ruined several others before figuring things out. But the results are worth the effort. It’s the kind of food that brings people together and makes everyone happy.


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