I made a paella the other night and my uncle declared it the best paella he's ever had. Well, he's never been to Spain but I still took it as a compliment.
Each time I make it it's slightly different but I thought you deserved to have the recipe for the best paella my uncle has ever had. The beauty of paella is there are a gajillion ways to make it and you can do it as elegant as you feel. I used to make it in one pan but found that the clams took too long to cook that way so I cook them separately. If you use lobster, cook that separately and add the meat to the dish.
I'm posting this partly because my friend Jen14221 recently talked about making her favorite paella which is a little more elegant than mine.
Paella de Blaugra
Goya medium grain rice
Clam juice, small bottle
Spanish Chorizo (I don't use bulk, I use sliceable) sliced into thin coins
at least 2 dozen shrimp (I just used frozen, cleaned, no tail)
scallops (that's the first time I ever put scallops in paella and it was good.)
bag of 50 clams. Or however many and whatever size you want.
Other additions I've used include lobster tail and sliced calamari. I never put mussels in because I don't like them.
1 can LeSeur baby sweet peas, drained
1 small jar roasted red peppers, sliced into lozenges
Green pepper, onion, garlic to make a sofrito
Saffron, oregano, salt, pepper
Extra virgin olive oil, duh
Prep the seafood. This means thawing anything frozen or cleaning it. For the clams, soak them in cold salt water for a little while and they will spit out the sand in them. Discard that water and rinse the clams.
Make enough rice for 5-6 servings (see the proportions on the package.) Use a little olive oil, chicken broth and a bottle of clam juice for your cooking liquid. Crush several strands of saffron into the cooking broth. Like I don't know, ten at least. You want the flavor and the yellow color.
Start to boil a little water in a big pot where you'll be steaming your clams.
Meanwhile, in your large paella pan, cook the chorizo in olive oil until it starts to crisp. Remove to a plate. If you're using scallops (make sure you dry them so they aren't wet when they hit the oil!) sear them on both sides and remove to the same plate. Then add the sofrito mixture of pepper, onion and garlic and soften.
Add the shrimp to the pan and saute quickly. While they're cooking, dump the clams into the boiling water and listen to their shells start to pop open. Add the chorizo and scallops back to the pan. Add the cooked rice and drained peas and stir it all together, adding oregano, salt and pepper. Remove the clams from the pot with tongs and nestle them in, or on, the paella. Add strips of roasted pepper in a sunburst design on top of the dish. Squirt some lemon juice on top. Hello, gorgeous. Dressed to impress.
Ready to eat, or, keep warm with foil on top over low heat while you toss a nice salad. Serve with lemon wedges and a Rioja.