Mediterranean Seafood Paella: An Authentic Spanish Recipe
Are you a fan of traditional Mediterranean cuisine? If so, you’ll want to learn more about the Spanish seafood paella tradition! The dish is becoming increasingly popular outside of Spain as more people discover its fantastic flavors and textures. Commonly made with rice, saffron, seafood, and a medley of spices, paella is one of the most distinctive dishes you’ll encounter and is the perfect go-to for a celebration or weeknight dish like none other!
Paella lends itself to experimentation without losing authenticity. You can also easily add your twist to paella to make it your own or adapt a recipe to whatever ingredients you have. Paella is also endlessly versatile. It serves just as well as a quick weeknight meal as an elegant centerpiece to a weekend family meal.
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Get ready to transport your taste buds to Spain with the ultimate seafood paella recipe! Made with short-grain rice, saffron, seafood, and vegetables. This traditional Spanish dish is a feast for the senses. Sautéed to perfection, the rice is cooked with broth until the seafood is fully flavorful. To finish it off, it’s garnished with fragrant herbs and a squeeze of lemon for a refreshing touch. Follow our step-by-step guide to create the perfect, authentic Mediterranean seafood paella that will leave your guests wanting more!
What is Paella?
Paella is a rice dish with meat and vegetables, but its original recipe has changed dramatically. Named for the wide, flat, shallow pan, it’s typically cooked in.
Spain has been serving Paella for centuries, and each region uses unique ingredients in its recipe. Paella originated as an economical rice dish for peasants in Valencia during the Moorish occupation of Spain. Foodies still dispute the dish’s exact origins. Valencian peasants added chicken, rabbit, snails, and vegetables to a simple pot of rice to create Paella, as believed by food historians.
As paella’s popularity grew, new regional variations began appearing, adding different meats, seafood, and frozen peas. Depending on the desired flavor or style, people can now enjoy various ingredients with paella. However, saffron remains a mainstay of the dish, with some other spices like turmeric occasionally acting as a substitute to give the rice its distinctive yellow color.
Paprika Vs Pimento Peppers
Grinding dried bell peppers or a specific variety of chili pepper is the process that creates paprika, which is known for its smoky and earthy flavor. Spanish cuisine widely uses paprika, a common ingredient in traditional paella recipes. On the other hand, dried cherry peppers make pimento with a sweeter, floral, and fruity flavor. However, paprika and pimento are made from dried peppers. They differ in taste due to their unique varieties. At the same time, pimento is not a traditional ingredient in paella. It can add a delicious and unique twist to the dish. By incorporating pimento at various stages throughout the cooking process, its distinct flavor can infuse the entire dish, creating a more complex flavor profile, as demonstrated in this recipe.
The Flavorful and Colorful Spice in Seafood Paella
In paella, saffron is an essential ingredient that gives the dish its golden hue and fantastic taste. To use saffron in paella, you can break the threads with a pestle, sprinkle it over the rice, and let it cook. This helps release the flavor and color compounds of the saffron into the liquid, giving the dish its characteristic taste and appearance.
If you don’t have saffron, you can use a few substitutes. One option is turmeric, which has a similar golden color and a mild flavor that won’t overpower the other ingredients. Another alternative is annatto, a natural coloring agent made from the achiote tree’s seeds. It has a subtle flavor won’t impact the dish’s overall taste. However, it’s important to note that these substitutes may provide a similar color. They won’t give the same unique flavor that saffron imparts to paella.
The Perfect Wine Pairing for Mediterranean Seafood Paella
Regarding food, some dishes beg for a perfectly paired glass of wine. And for me, one of those dishes is undoubtedly a delicious seafood paella. While I’m not a big drinker, certain meals don’t feel complete without a glass of wine, and this Mediterranean seafood paella is one of them.
Combining succulent shrimp, juicy chicken, tender lobster, and briny clams and oysters with aromatic rice and vegetables creates a harmonious and satisfying dish. To bring out the flavors of this mouthwatering dish, I recommend pairing it with a crisp and refreshing Albariño, a white wine from the northwestern region of Spain. The wine’s bright acidity and citrus notes complement the flavors of the seafood and rice. I am creating a perfect harmony of flavors with every bite. Don’t miss out on this ideal pairing and savor the taste of the Mediterranean with every mouthwatering bite of our seafood paella!
Make sure that your clams and oyster are scrubbed and clean. Any dirt or shells could spoil your meal and even damage your teeth! In a medium size stock pot, add the water and the wine with lemon slices, add the clams and oyster to boil, cook until the clams and oyster are open, remove from heat, and keep aside.
Wash and pat dry the prawns. Sprinkle some pimento on them before cooking. Heat a skillet on high heat; drizzle the olive oil, add the prawns, and cook until the prawns are cooked. When they're ready, they will turn pink on all sides. They should cook for about 6-8 minutes. Season the prawns with salt and drizzle the lemon juice once cooked. Then, keep them aside in a small bowl.
Wash the lobster tails, pat dry them cut through in the middle lengthwise, and keep them intact with the shell. Sprinkle some pimento on top. In the same skillet, melt the one tablespoon of unsalted butter, place the lobster tail flesh down, cook for 4 minutes, flip them over, and cook for another drizzle with lemon juice; remove and keep them on the side.
In the same skillet, over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pimento. Add the chicken piece to the hot skillet. Brown them on each side for 5 minutes, and keep them on the side for use later.
In the skillet, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the diced shallots, then cook them for 5 minutes until soft. Add the cut-up red bell pepper. Sauté them for another 3 minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes. Mix and cook them in the pan for another 5 minutes.
Mix well with the minced garlic, ground pimento, and tomato paste. Add the peas, followed by the chicken broth water. Mix them all, then add the vinegar. Sprinkle the saffron threads over the skillet, then mix and season them with salt and pepper. Add the rice and mix only once, spreading the rice around evenly.
Boil them, arrange the chicken pieces, then lower the heat to a medium simmer for about 20 minutes until the rice becomes almost tender.
Arrange the clams, oysters, shrimp, and lobster tails around. Cook for another 10 minutes until the edges and the bottom become slightly crispy! Sprinkle it with chopped Italian parsley and some lemons!
Once the paella is ready, move it from the pot onto your tabletop on a heat-safe surface and serve directly. And finally, enjoy a glass of white wine with your loved ones!
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Mediterranean seafood paella is a Spanish dish made with short-grain rice, saffron, seafood, and vegetables. The ingredients are sautéed, the rice is added with broth, and cooked until the seafood is fully cooked. It’s garnished with herbs and lemon before serving.
|Clams and oysters: 8 pieces of clams, 8 pieces of oyster, 1 quart of water, ½ cup white wine, 2 slices of lemon|
|For the prawns: ½ lb. of giant prawns (about 10-12 pieces of shell), 1 teaspoon olive oil, ¼ teaspoon pimento, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, A pinch of salt|
|Lobster tails: 4 small lobster tails, 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, ½ teaspoon pimento, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, A pinch of salt|
|For the chicken: 1 teaspoon olive oil, 3 boneless chicken thighs (cut into small pieces), ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pimento.|
For the rice:
|2 tablespoons olive oil|
|2 small shallots (diced)|
|1 red bell pepper (cut into small pieces)|
|2 medium size tomatoes (diced)|
|5 garlic cloves (minced)|
|2 teaspoons ground pimento|
|½ tablespoon tomato paste|
|2 cups peas|
|4 cups chicken broth (mixed with 4 cups of water)|
|½ teaspoon vinegar|
|½ teaspoon saffron thread (crushed)|
|Salt and pepper to season|
|2 cups Bomba rice|
|Chopped parsley and lemon wedges for garnish|
Recipe Tips & Suggestions
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