Seasonal Spanish Food
by Jose Pizarro
This is the paella that everyone makes all over Spain. You'll see people on a Sunday in picnic parks, cooking this paella, or a version of it, on their grills. Use a mixture of firm-fleshed white fish—select the freshest you can find; here I have used monkfish.
· 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
· 1 lb locally sourced monkfish, cubed
· 2 small onions, diced
· 2 garlic cloves, sliced
· 3 ripe tomatoes chopped, or 14 oz can chopped tomatoes
· 1/2 cup white wine
· 2 teaspoons Spanish smoked paprika (mild)
· salt and freshly ground black pepper
· 10oz squid, ready cleaned and sliced
· 3½ to 4 cups chicken or fish stock, warmed
· pinch of saffron, about 30 threads, soaked in 2 tablespoons hot water
· 2 cups paella rice, such as Calasparra
· 12 raw shrimp
· 1 cup peas
· 10 oz mussels
· 12 oz clams
· 5 flat-leaf parsley sprigs, chopped
· 6 lemon slices
Heat the olive oil in a very large frying pan or, ideally, a paella pan that's roughly 18in in diameter. Cook the monkfish over medium heat until browned—this will take about 3 minutes. Remove and set aside in a warm place while you prepare the sofrito, or onion mixture, in the same pan.
Cook the onions and garlic for 5 minutes until soft, then add the tomatoes and the wine; let reduce a little for another 5 minutes, then stir in the paprika. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the squid and give everything a good stir. Stir in 3½ cups stock and saffron water, turn the heat up to high, and bring the liquid to a boil. Pour in the rice, give another good stir, and then add the monkfish and stir once. Cook uncovered over high heat for 10 minutes. Do not stir again—this is not a risotto.
Add the shrimp, followed by the peas, and lastly the shellfish. Cover with foil, reduce the heat to low, and cook for another 8 minutes. Remember that the shellfish will release their own juices, so you probably won't need to add extra stock toward the end, but if you think the rice is looking dry, add a ladle more.
Remove from the heat, remove the foil from the rice, and replace with some paper towels or a kitchen towel; let sit for 5 minutes to allow the paella to breathe.
Scatter the parsley over the rice, arrange the lemon slices, then put the paella into the middle of the table and let everyone help themselves. You may find there is some crusty, slightly caramelized rice on the base of the pan; this is called the socarrat and is the sign of a well-cooked paella.