There is no food considered to be more quintessentially Spanish than paella. Loved all over the world, and a key ingredient in Spanish culture, paella is an easy-to-make one pot dish that is perfect for feeding a crowd. Whether you’re looking for a dish for a dinner party or for a casual family meal, paella is the ideal choice. This version is loaded with monkfish, king prawns and mussels, embracing the wide array of delicious and fresh seafood that is available in Spain year-round.
Paella means "frying pan" in Valencian, Valencia's regional language. It is a dish that has ancient roots, but it was populised in the form we know and love today during the 19th century. Here’s everything you need to know to make a traditional Spanish paella that’s sure to impress your family and friends:
- 20-24 raw shell-on king prawns
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 500g monkfish, cut into chunks
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 500g paella rice
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- pinch of saffron
- ½ x 400g can chopped tomatoes (save the rest for the stock, below)
- 500g mussels, cleaned
- 100g frozen peas
- 100g frozen baby broad beans
- handful parsley leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- ½ x 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 chicken stock cube
- 1 star anise
For the stock
- Before you begin, peel and devein the prawns. Keep the heads and shells, as these will also form a part of the recipe.
- First, you will make the simple stock. To do this, you will add the onion, tomatoes, garlic, and reserved prawn shells and heads to a pan that has been preheated with a drizzle of olive oil. Allow these ingredients to cook and soften in the oil for 3-4 minutes before adding the stock cube, star anise, and two litres of water. Once this is all boiling, turn down the temperature of your hob and leave the stock to simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Once cooked, leave the stock to cool before blending it with a food processor and seiving any lumps, so that you’re left with a smooth stock mixture.
- Heat a teaspoon of oil in your paella pan (or if you don’t have one, a large and deep frying pan) and use this to brown the monk fish. Once browned, remove the fish from the pan and use the same oil to fry the onions until they are softened.
- Add the rice, garlic, paprika, cayenne (if using) and saffron to the pan and stir in for around thirty seconds before adding the canned tomatoes and fish stock. Bring to the boil and then leave to simmer, stirring the mixture regularly. After around 10 minutes, add the pre-browned monkfish, prawns, mussels, peas and broadbeans to the pan.
- Finally, cover the pan with foil and leave to simmer for another 10-15 minutes until the mussels are opened and the prawns are cooked through. Your dish will be ready to serve immediately, and will pair well with a fresh tomato salad and crusty fresh bread.
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