Paella with mussels and shrimp

The Boston Globe


March 30, 2005

Contrary to popular belief, traditional Spanish paella does not mix meats and seafood. This paella depends on mussel meat for most of its flavor. The crust of rice on the bottom of the pan, called soccarat, is considered a delicacy in Spain. Even with the long list of ingredients, the dish is not difficult. Pimenton, Spanish smoked paprika, is available at specialty markets or from Serves 4.

2 pounds mussels, cleaned
½ cup dry white wine
2½ cups bottled clam juice
1/3 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
2 eggs, hard-cooked and peeled
¼ cup olive oil
½ pound medium shrimp, peeled
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
½ teaspoon salt
1 tomato, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
¼ teaspoon paprika (preferably pimenton)
1½ cups Spanish or Arborio short-grain rice
2 scallions, chopped
12 sugar snap peas, strings removed
1 canned pimiento, cut into strips

1. Set aside 16 of the mussels. Pour the wine into a large skillet, add the remaining mussels, cover, and cook over nigh heat for 5 to 7 minutes or until the mussels open.

2. Tip the cooking broth into a 4-cup measuring cup. Add enough clam juice to make 3 cups. Return the broth to the skillet. Add the saffron, and warm over low heat.

3. Remove the mussel meat from the open shells; chop it coarsely.

4. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Coarsely chop half of one egg; set aside. Slice the remaining 1½ eggs for garnish.

5. In a large paella pan or cast-iron skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from the pan. Add the garlic, onion, green pepper, 1½ teaspoons of the rosemary, and salt. Lower the heat to medium and cook the mixture for 3 minutes. Add the tomato and parsley and cook 1 minute.

6. Stir in the paprika and rice until the grains are coated all over.

7. Pour in the hot broth, bring to a boil, and boil for about 2 minutes, stirring. Taste for salt and add the shrimp, chopped egg, and scallions. Continue to boil, stirring occasionally and rotating the pan if it is too big for one burner, for 3 minutes more or until the rice isn't soupy but sufficient liquid remains. Stir in the peas and set the pimiento and whole mussels on top.

8. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until the rice is almost tender. Transfer to a warm spot, scatter with the sliced egg and the remaining rosemary, and let the paella sit for 5 to 10 minutes.

9. Return the pan to a burner and cook over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, rotating the pan to evenly crisp the bottom of the rice.

Adapted from "Paella: Spectacular Rice Dishes From Spain"

© 2005 The New York Times Company

Featured Products