This paella is one of the best things I’ve ever made. I recently watched an episode of “Avec Eric” (with Eric Ripert, no pun intended) where he made a great looking seafood paella. And he made it look so simple. So, after consulting a few Food Network recipes, I was ready to give it a go. Because of this paella’s ease and beauty, I think it would be the perfect thing to make for your next dinner party.
First, chop up 1/4 cup of onion, a few garlic cloves, and 1 tomato. My tomato came from my most recent vegetable delivery, and it was so delicious. Why can’t grocery stores carry tomatoes like this one?!
Cover the bottom of a paella pan (or the widest frying pan you own) with olive oil, and sautée the veggies until they start to caramelize. It took about 5 minutes for my veggies to reach this state.
In the meantime, take a pinch of saffron and crumble it between your fingers into a small pot of broth (I used chicken broth). It’s important to crumble the saffron because it helps it infuse into the broth quicker.
Bring the pot to a simmer so the saffron can infuse. Saffron is used frequently in Spanish cooking and is fairly expensive because the strands are individually plucked from flowers.
Once your tomato, onion, and garlic caramelize in the olive oil, add 1 cup of arborio rice to the pan. Arborio rice is a short grain rice that is also used in risotto. Stir the rice around to coat it in the olive oil. Season it with 1 tablespoon of paprika, some salt, and some pepper.
Then, pour over 1 quart of broth, which includes the broth infused with saffron. Stir everything around, and let the pan simmer for 10 minutes. You can use this time to chop the vegetables you want to add to the paella. I cut up some asparagus, broccoli, and carrots. Because carrots take a while to cook, cut them into 1/4 inch strips.
Once the 10 minutes are up, you’ll notice that your rice will have expanded. Give everything a stir and then arrange your veggies into a nice pattern on top of the rice.
Once the veggies are in, nestle your shrimp into the rice. After 4 minutes of cooking, flip them over to cook on the other side. You could also sprinkle some peas over the paella at this point.
Your paella should start smelling pretty good. If you’re lucky enough to have a kitchen foot warmer, give her a little attention.
Once your shrimp have cooked for 4 minutes on both sides, most of the liquid in your paella should be absorbed and the rice should be nice and tender. Taste a piece of rice to check for doneness and seasoning. One of the best parts of paella is the crispy layer of rice at the bottom of the pan, so turn your burner to high for a minute or until you can smell your rice starting to toast. If you’ve smelled your rice toasting before this step, skip it. Let your paella rest for 5 minutes before serving so it can set. Then, squeeze over some lemon or lime juice to really make the flavors pop.
This paella serves 3-4 people. The vegetables were tender but firm and the shrimp were flavorful and perfectly cooked. I can’t wait to make this paella again so I can experiment with all different kinds of ingredients. Let me know how it turns out for you!