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Overhead shot of seafood paella in a black paella pan with calamari, mussels, shrimp and lemons.

Traditional Spanish Seafood Paella Recipe

This easy seafood paella recipe will get you a plate of rice every bit as delicious as the stuff served in tapas bars from Barcelona to Valencia! Just make sure to bring an empty stomach.
4.95 from 19 votes
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Course: Main
Cuisine: Spanish
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 620.73kcal
Author: David Pope

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup olive oil (80 ml)
  • 1 large onion finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 medium tomatoes peeled and diced
  • 1.5 teaspoons sweet paprika Spanish pimentón de la Vera is the best if you can get it.
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • 2 large squid cleaned and sliced into 1/4-inch rings, tentacles left whole (not used in this dish)
  • 2 cups rice (380 g) see notes
  • 1 cup white wine (240 ml)
  • 3 cups of seafood stock (720 ml)
  • 12 prawns or jumbo shrimp, shells on if possible for extra flavor
  • 12 mussels

Instructions

  • In a large saucepan over high heat, bring the white wine and seafood stock to a simmer. Add a pinch of saffron threads and keep warm.
  • Meanwhile, put a large (16-inch) paella pan (see notes) over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. When hot, add the onion to the pan and saute until translucent, stirring often.
  • Add the garlic and cook until aromatic (about 1-2 minutes). Before it starts to brown, add the tomato and stir, adding in the paprika and a pinch of salt. Continue to stir and saute until the tomatoes are reduced and the oil is sizzling.
  • Gently add the squid to the pan and stir to coat in the tomato mixture. Saute for about a minute, to give some color to the squid.
  • Next, add the rice and stir to combine. After a minute of sauteing, spread the rice evenly across the pan (don't worry if it looks like a thin layer, it will puff up).
  • Gently add the simmering white wine and stock to the pan, all in one go. Reduce the heat to low, and cook, without stirring, for 10 minutes. Carefully lay the prawns/shrimp in a circle on top of the rice and cook for a further 10 minutes, turning the shrimp over as they start to turn pink. If the rice starts to dry out before the shrimp is cooked, you can top it up with a bit more hot stock, half a cup at a time.
  • Meanwhile, steam the mussels by putting them in a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid in half an inch of water. When the shells open, they are cooked! (Discard any that do not open).
  • When the stock in the paella pan fully evaporates, you will hear a faint cracking from the bottom of the pan as the socarrat starts to form. If you don't hear anything, you can raise the heat to medium for a short burst!
  • When the rice is ready, remove the pan from the heat and arrange the mussels on top of the rice. Serve from the pan, with wedges of fresh lemon.

Notes

  1. The ideal paella rice is a short/medium grain round variety such as Bomba rice. If necessary, you can substitute Arborio. You can also order it in advance if you can!
  2. A paella pan is a special frying pan for making paella. If you don't have one (very likely if you don't live in Spain), use your largest, flattest skillet. I like to use cast iron if not able to use a paella pan.
  3. You can substitute the seafood used for what you prefer. Other options would be clams, scallops, hearty white fish, and lobster. Use what you have available in similar quantities. 
  4. Use homemade seafood stock when possible. While some traditional paellas are made using only water, your seafood paella will be extra special if you use good quality seafood stock. If I don't have time to make stock, I buy a good quality boxed stock.
  5. If you can't find saffron or it is cost-prohibitive, you can use a pinch of turmeric for color or simply omit it.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 620.73kcal | Carbohydrates: 84.56g | Protein: 14.35g | Fat: 19.66g | Saturated Fat: 2.84g | Cholesterol: 53.38mg | Sodium: 928.04mg | Potassium: 452.35mg | Fiber: 2.7g | Sugar: 5.06g | Vitamin A: 1297.2IU | Vitamin C: 13.66mg | Calcium: 81.03mg | Iron: 2.76mg
    Did you make this recipe?Tag @spanishsabores on IG and hashtag it #spanishsabores!