Best Spanish Seafood Paella

September 7, 2021

The ultimate one-pot meal, this paella recipe bursts with all kinds of colorful ingredients! Giving it a ton of flavor and texture and making it the perfect party dish for the hot summer!

This seafood paella with clams, mussels, shrimp, and smoky chorizo is a statement dish that doesn’t need a festive occasion. It can be made at home in about an hour and delivered every time.

And you know what’s the best part? The saffron-infused recipe is super improvisable, and you don’t need a paella pan or any other special equipment to make it.

Seafood PaellaPhoto By Canva
Taste Score: %88
Difficulty Medium
Servings 6 people
Preparation 30 mins
Cooking 35 mins
Total 65 mins

Tips

  • Discard any clams and mussels with cracked or broken shells, and scrub the rest thoroughly before use.
  • Use the largest cast iron or heavy stainless steel skillet you have for this paella recipe. If lacking a sufficiently large and sturdy skillet, make your paella in a medium-sized (approximately 14x10 inches) roasting pan.
  • Never stir the stock once it comes to a simmer. The rice staying at the bottom forms a crispy golden bottom layer which is called socarrat and craved by paella lovers.
  • Be sure to place the mussels and clams hinge sides up. Any other way will not allow them to release their juices into the paella rice.
  • Mussels and clams tend to open once fully cooked. Therefore, discard any that are still tightly closed after everything else has been cooked.
  • Spanish chorizo is a bit of a controversial add-in, so it’s okay if you skip it. If you can’t find chorizo and would still like the smoky flavor, substitute with thin half-moon slices of some other cooked sausage and a teaspoon of smoked paprika.
  • Fish or shellfish stock can be used for this seafood paella recipe, but chicken stock is also a great option. Use whichever one you prefer, and season with salt as required.
  • Saffron is a key ingredient in most paella recipes and lends the dish a unique earthy flavor and color. But it’s an expensive spice, so if you really need to substitute it, use ground turmeric instead.
  • If looking to make this paella recipe vegetarian, use vegetable stock and leave out the chorizo, clams, mussels, and shrimp.
  • To make this seafood paella without a grill, cook it on the stove until you’re about to add the seafood. Then heat an oven to 350°F, add seafood to the skillet, cover it with foil, and place it inside the oven. Cook for 6-10 minutes until rice and shrimp cook through and shellfish open. Check if the bottom has browned and heat the skillet for a minute or so over medium heat to brown it.
  • This seafood paella is made with shrimp, clams, mussels, and chorizo, but you can also use other marine products instead to change this recipe into a white fish paella or prawn paella recipe.

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat a gas grill to medium-high heat or light a charcoal grill till gray ash covers the charcoal.
  2. Bring the stock of your choice to boil in a saucepan over medium heat, and add saffron and salt. Remove the saucepan from the heat and steep the saffron for a minimum of 15 minutes. Taste test and adjust salt as required.
  3. Add oil to a 12- to 14-inch stainless steel skillet or cast iron pan and place it over medium heat. Once hot, add in finely chopped onions and red bell peppers and cook until onions are translucent (5-7 minutes). Stir in chopped garlic and dried chorizo.
  4. Take this skillet outside along with the previously made infused stock and other ingredients like rice, tomatoes, salt, peas, shrimp, mussels, and clams, and set everything next to the grill.
  5. Transfer the skillet to the grill and add rice. Cook the rice for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until coated with oil and lightly toasted.
  6. Add in the infused stock, canned tomatoes, and frozen peas. Stir, taste test, and add salt if desired.
  7. Spread the rice so it covers the bottom of the skillet evenly, and close the grill cover. Leave the rice to simmer for about 15 minutes until it absorbs most of the saffron-infused stock while avoiding stirring. Add a cup of hot water if the mixture looks too dry, but don't stir.
  8. Add the shrimp, mussels, and clams to the rice, hinge sides up. Then use some foil to cover the skillet and close the grill, cooking for another 6-10 minutes until both the shrimp and rice are cooked through, and all the shellfish are open.
  9. Check if the bottom of the rice has been browned by slipping a spatula underneath. If you haven't gotten a golden-brown crust yet, leave the pan uncovered over heat for a couple of minutes until the bottom is lightly caramelized.
  10. Remove the seafood paella from the heat and garnish with chopped parsley, serving in the same skillet it was cooked.
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 Seafood Paella
Serves 6
Amount Per Serving
Calories680
% Daily Value*
Protein 57 g114%
Total Fat 25 g32.1%
Cholesterol 159 mg53%
Sodium 2139 mg93%
Potassium 1259 mg26.8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

What Is Paella?

Named after the shallow pan in which it is cooked, paella is a much loved Spanish dish from the Valencian region. It has many different variations, but its origins can be traced back to the early 1800s when it was made with rabbit, chicken, snails, and three types of beans.

How to Select the Right Rice for Paella?

For most paella recipes, the short-grained highly absorbent but still somewhat firm Spanish bomba rice is the best option. But since it’s expensive and hard to find, other rice like Calasparra, Italian Carnaroli, Italian Arborio, and Calrose can also be used.

Using short grain rice is super important for authentic paella. If short-grain rice is unavailable, a medium grain will also do, but long grain rice must be avoided.

What to Serve with Paella?

Paella is a hearty dish on its own and hardly needs any sides to complete it. However, it can be served with complimentary dishes like Caesar salad, fried sweet plantain slices, fried pimientos de Padron, and roasted red peppers or enjoyed with some warm crusty bread.

Here are some our delicious recipes that you can serve with Paella:

How to Store Paella?

Take your seafood paella out of the skillet or pan and transfer it to an airtight container after removing all the shells. Store the container and shellfish separately in the refrigerator for up to a day or so, and reheat together in a pan over medium heat with a bit of olive oil.

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