A smoky and Easy Seafood Paella Recipe that looks and tastes like a sun-soaked summer on the Mediterranean in Spain!
Easy Seafood Paella Recipe
Sometimes a bite of food just tastes like vacation. Or, more accurately, there are flavors that capture a time and place. Every single time I whip up Yaki Udon, I’m instantly transported to an evening I spent with my family at an izakaya in the boonies of Japan a while back. So when I made this super easy seafood paella recipe, I was hoping to do the same thing for Ben – who spent a couple of years living and working in Spain. I endeavored to create a wistful food reminder.
We’ve always been huge fans of the saffron and seafood infused rice dish when eating out, but it just looks like such an intimidating kitchen project to attempt. Let me tell you friends, the fear was for nothing! This simple seafood paella recipe only required a quick trip to the grocery store and about 30 minutes in the kitchen over a deep pan. The flavors were oceanic, smoky and fully developed – totally at odds with how quick it was to make. The original one-pot meal!
Paella, sometimes seen by non-Spaniards as Spain’s national dish, originally hails from Valencia. The original Valencian paella usually contains chicken or rabbit, green beans, artichokes and snails. This seafood paella recipe substitutes the meat for sea creatures. To keep this seafood paella recipe simple but flavorful, I used shrimp and littleneck clams for the seafood elements. Clams deliver such a deep and true taste of the sea that I actually prefer them to the more traditional mussels. But paella is such a versatile dish that you can use mussels, squid, chorizo, chicken or even just a ton of veggies in your own paella creations. As long as you have access to saffron, you’re good to go!
However, saffron isn’t cheap. Wholesalers might pay anywhere from $500 to $5,000 a pound of the really good stuff. Luckily, a little saffron goes a long way and you can find it in smaller quantities for a reasonable price online these days. A word of caution, though: when storing saffron, be sure to keep it in a cool, dark area. Saffron is sensitive to both natural and artificial light sources. The flavor can deteriorate if kept in a sunny spot on the spice rack. Therefore, treat your saffron like a roll of undeveloped film – and it should retain its unique flavor for up to a year.
So, did Ben have his food moment? It’s fair to say that yes, he did. As we dug into our bowls of saffron-rice and seafood, it was clear that not only did he like it (folks, he licked the bowl!), but the nostalgia of that time spent on the Mediterranean was being brought to the forefront through a bite of food. Suddenly, I was hearing stories that were born on the Iberian peninsula before we even knew each other. This easy seafood paella recipe was a hit! Have you ever eaten anything that brought back a time or place through flavor? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section!
Other simple, delicious rice recipes:
- Easy Shrimp Fried Rice
- Coconut Milk Rice and Beans
- Omurice オムライス
- Spicy Tuna Roll
- One Pan Szechuan Chicken Fried Rice
Did you like this Easy Seafood Paella Recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 300 grams short grain rice (just over 1¼ cups) - medium grain rice works fine as well
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 14 ounces canned chopped tomatoes
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 2 pinches saffron threads
- 12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 12 littleneck clams or mussels, scrubbed
- ½ cup frozen peas, thawed
- Handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- Lemon wedges
- In a deep pan over medium high heat, add olive oil, garlic, onion and red bell pepper and cook for 3 minutes, until vegetables have softened.
- Add rice, turmeric and paprika and stir well.
- Add tomatoes, chicken stock and saffron, stir and bring to a boil.
- Lower heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
- Spread shrimp, clams (or mussels) and green peas on top, cover and cook for another 10-15 minutes, until clams/mussels have opened and the shrimp are pink.
- Turn the heat off and top paella with parsley.
- Serve with lemon wedges on top.
High in dietary fiber
High in niacin
High in phosphorus
High in potassium
Very high in vitamin A
High in vitamin B6
Very high in vitamin C