Arroz a la Marinera—Valencia
This is the dramatic seafood paella that looks stunning, with crustaceans and shellfish. You can vary the quantities of seafood and also use crab, crayfish, or lobster (boil them separately). Andresito, who is collecting reminiscences of people in villages around him in Alicante, told me that on the Alicante Coast, fishermen’s families made seafood paellas without any vegetables. When they did not go out to fish, they made arroz de piedras with mollusks from the rocks (piedras means rocks). The fishermen went around local villages selling their fish on scooters, and people inland added vegetables. In Catalonia, where the tradition of mixing meat and seafood is very old, they had pieces of chicken, pork, rabbit, or duck and sausage in their seafood paellas. Today adding meat and vegetables to seafood paella has become common in other regions, where seasonal vegetables such as green beans, peas, artichokes, or peppers also go in. It is calledpaella mixta. Wine was not added in the past but it is sometimes today. Serve this with Alioli if you like.
YIELD: Makes 4 servings
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste or finely chopped
- 2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon pimentón dulce (or sweet paprika)
- A good pinch of saffron threads
- 4 cleaned small squid, bodies sliced into 1/4-inch-wide rings, tentacles left whole
- 2 cups medium-grain Spanish paella rice or risotto rice, such as Arborio or Carnaroli
- 3 cups fish or chicken stock, plus more if needed
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 12 jumbo shrimp in their shells
- 16 mussels, scrubbed and debearded
Fry the onion in the oil in a 16-inch paella pan until soft, stirring often. Stir in the garlic, and before it begins to color, add the tomatoes. Add the sugar, salt to taste,pimentón (or paprika), and saffron, stir well, and cook until the tomatoes are reduced to a jammy sauce and the oil is sizzling. Add the squid and cook, stirring, for a minute or so. Add the rice and stir well until all the grains are coated. (You can prepare the dish to this point up to an hour in advance.)
Bring the stock and wine to a boil in a saucepan. Pour over the rice, bring to a boil, and add salt to taste (even if the broth tastes a bit salty, it will not be salty when it is absorbed by the rice). Stir well and spread the rice out evenly in the pan (do not stir again). Cook the rice over low heat for 18 to 20 minutes, moving the pan around and rotating it so that the rice cooks evenly. Lay the shrimp on top after 10 minutes and turn them when they have become pink on the first side. Add a little more hot stock toward the end if the rice seems too dry and you hear crackly frying noises before it is done. When the rice is done, turn off the heat and cover the pan with a large piece of foil.
Steam the mussels with a finger of water in a pan with a tight-fitting lid. As soon as they open, they are cooked. Throw away any that have not opened.
Arrange the mussels on top of the paella.
variations•Add 4 quartered small artichoke hearts or bottoms, fresh or defrosted frozen, a good handful of peas, green beans or broad beans cut into short lengths, or roasted red peppers, cut into strips, with the rice.
•In Alicante, they use the pulp of 1 or 2 dried and soaked ñora peppers, which they grow, instead of pimentón.
•Use clams instead of mussels.
•You can make this into an arroz caldoso, or soupy rice, by adding 1 more cup of boiling stock, but do not cook it for any longer or the rice will be soggy.
•If you want to use lobster, ask the fishmonger to cut a live lobster into pieces. Boil it for minutes only, until it turns red. Or boil it whole and cut it up.