It’s difficult to duplicate the experience of cooking paella outdoors in Valencia over burning embers of wood from orange trees, but you could do it on a grill on high heat. Most important, buy a proper pan (available at www.latienda.com), cook it a little longer than you think, and DON’T STIR! If you are cooking it indoors on the stove, be generous with the super-smoky pimentón since it will provide the requisite almost-but-not-quite-burned flavor.
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil Buy Here!
- 6 large scampi or Dublin Bay prawns in the shell
- 1 medium Spanish onion, cut into 1/4 inch dice
- 1/2 cup pureed ripe tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon saffron threads Buy Here!
- 1 tablespoon sweet pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika) Buy Here!
- 1 pound cleaned cuttlefish (or substitute calamari), cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 quarts Fish Stock
- 2 cups Bomba or other short-grain rice Buy Here!
- 1 pound monkfish tail, cleaned and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 pound Manila clams, scrubbed
PHeat a 14- to 18-inch paella pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat until smoking. Add the scampi and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add the onion to the pan and cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the tomato puree, stirring it into the onions, and cook for 3 minutes. Add the salt, saffron, pimentón, and cuttlefish and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until the cuttlefish firms up slightly. Add the stock, bring to a boil, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir well to distribute it evenly. Add monkfish and clams, arranging them in nicely, bring the stock back to a boil, and cook, without stirring, for 10 minutes. Reintroduce shrimp to paella, taste for salt and add it if needed, then cook, again without stirring, for 10-15 more minutes, or until the liquid is almost completely absorbed and the pan starts to make a crackling noise (don’t worry, this is what you want). Remove from the heat and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.