I now own the world’s largest paella pan.
Well, technically, not. There are bigger, but I don’t know how anyone could lift them when they’re full of food.
This puppy is 24-inches across and takes up 4 burners of my 6-burner stove. It’s awesome.
I’ve made paella for years, but have opted for a layered dish of rice, chicken, sausage and seafood cooked in a Dutch oven and finished in the oven.
A real paella is cooked completely on a stove top with the meats and fish cooking along with the rice. And that way of cooking paella allows the rice to form the socarrat — the caramelized, crusty bottom that is a delicacy in Spain.
I’d been doing a lot of reading about Spanish food to prepare for our trip to Spain this past summer, and I realized a real paella pan needed to live in my kitchen.
It’s easy to make great paella in New Bedford, an area with such amazing seafood, so when we had guests coming who were pescatarians it was a simple and obvious choice — a “wow” dish, easy to make, and everyone serves themselves. Accompanied by hot, crusty bread, it is a complete meal.
Obviously my recipe served a crowd, but I’ve cut it down to more reasonable proportions. And a smaller paella pan.
1 ½ cups bomba rice (I use Matiz Valenciano, available on Amazon)
6 ½ cups seafood stock
2 tablespoon olive oil
28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 packet Goya Sauzon seasoning with annatto
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
18 large shrimp with shells
18 deep sea scallops
18 littleneck clams, scrubbed
1 small jar of roasted red peppers, sliced into strips
Shell the shrimp, putting the shells in a pot along with the side muscles of the scallops (the small tag on the edge of most sea scallops). Add 7 cups of water to the shells and bring to a boil. Add the Goya Sauzon to the pot and stir. Simmer for at least 45 minutes, or put it on low and forget it for several hours — it only gets better.
Once the stock is ready and you’re ready to make dinner, strain the stock into a bowl. Heat the olive oil in the paella pan or large skillet and add the onions, cooking for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the rice and stir well so that the grains are covered in oil. Sprinkle with smoked paprika and add the canned tomatoes, stir one more time.
Spread the rice evenly in the pan. Add in the 6 ½ cups of the seafood stock and the littlenecks. Simmer the rice, not stirring (so the socarrat can form on the bottom) over medium heat until about ½ of the stock is absorbed.
Place the shrimp and scallops over the paella in a pleasing pattern, as this will be how the dish looks when you serve it. Do the same with the roasted red peppers.
Continue to cook — turning the pan occasionally so the socarrat is uniform — until the seafood is cooked and the clams open, about 20 minutes.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley and bring to the table with lots of serving utensils so everyone can dig in. In Spain they don’t even use plates, you just eat from the pan!
Comer con gusto!
Deb Bullock is a Southcoast native, author, traveler and foodie who lives in Fairhaven. Follow her blog at deborahdishes.com and on Facebook at Facebook.com/deborahwhodishes.