Spanish paella with lobster, prawns and mussels.
By Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime
This month for the #FoodieExtravaganza blogging group, it was my turn to post, so I decided on Paella in it’s many forms, since National Spanish Paella Day falls on March 27th.
Paella, as a Spanish dish, is usually made with Valencian rice although other rice types can be used successfully if care is taken. In any case, short grain rice is generally the one to go with. Valencia rice is very common although another type of short grain rice called Bomba is excellent. Arborio can also be used.
The recipe I have put together for you, Paella Bogavante, is one I made with Bomba rice. It might be more difficult to find than others, and is a bit more pricy. I am sure you can find it online if nothing else. The thing with bomba rice is that it is peculiar in that when it absorbs moisture, it lengthens rather than getting fatter at the girth, which makes it easier to cook without overcooking and bursting the rice.
The Bogavante part of my recipe refers to the lobster that is in it. And while the word itself refers to a Maine type lobster with a fanned tail rather than a spiny lobster, you can probably get by using either. I have also added prawns, mussels and chorizo to build the excitement of the dish and round out the flavors.
There seems to be this idea that paella is a long cooking and difficult dish to prepare. It really is a lot like arroz con pollo with the exception of the chicken, and that one uses long grain rice. However, paella can be made in many ways including only meats, or even those with vegetables alone.
The lobster I used I bought whole frozen and already cooked, so I won’t be expounding upon how to cook a live lobster in this post since I don’t actually do it. You’ll have to refer elsewhere for instructions on that right now or ask your fishmonger to cook it for you. I do however, have what you need to go from there.
What I did was to twist off the claw sections and whack them with the chef knife to make a crack in them. Then I proceeded to cut through the entire body using the chef knife and kitchen shears in a couple of spots. The split tail, I twisted off and set aside.The rest of the body you will see some cartilage/gills which you can explore for extra lobster meat. The green tomalley is edible as well as roe. You can discard those if you want, but shells can be used to make stock for later. I didn’t have any roe. I also discarded the tomalley because I don’t care for it.
Live mussels are used in this recipe which need to be rinsed well in cool water to try to rid them of any tiny bits of broken shell or sand that can be gotten at. They sometimes also need a little cleaning up if you see any remaining beard. Just grab it with a paper towel and pull it off.
It is always better to use the live mussels over the frozen ones. You will need to make sure they are fresh and if you open your package and find they have a foul odor that is sharp and acrid, take them back. Frozen mussels wont close when you tap them since they are dead by then, so you might inadvertently end up cooking a bad one. And the way to tell is if you don’t see them “close their mouths” when you tap them, they are probably gone, so get rid of those. And for the cooked ones, if they don’t open, get rid of it.
The rice itself cooks very quickly- in about 12-14 minutes. You’d be surprised, This is not really a long drawn out affair. Once the rice appears at the top of the paella pan, you can test for doneness and to see if the liquid has absorbed. It’s faster than cooking rice-a-roni.
The spice I used in this: choricero or nora pepper, is the same spice used to make chorizo. The flavor is not so dissimilar from paprika that it could not be used instead, although if you do come across the nora pepper, try it for the authenticity. It comes as a ground powder, as I use here, but also as a jarred sauce.
But I hope you enjoy. You don’t have to use all the premium seafoods to make this as it could be made with more chorizo and something like precooked chicken. Raw chicken probably doesn’t have enough time to get done unless you brown it first and if it is boneless at that. You could also use ham. Or even something like frozen meatballs.
Don’t forget to check out the other paella recipes in the Extravaganza.! Until next time-
- 1 whole (1-1.5 pound) steamed/cooked lobster, split
- 1/2 pound large prawns (2-3 count per pound), peeled and deveined, last section left intact
- 10-12 fresh mussels, rinsed and scrubbed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 ounces diced Spanish chorizo
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 1 cup diced fresh tomatoes
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (Chardonnay)
- 1 teaspoon finely crushed saffron threads
- 1 teaspoon choricero or nora pepper powder (or paprika)
- 1 cup short grain bomba rice (may substitute arborio rice)
- 2 cups lobster stock or fish stock or vegetable stock (I used Better than Bouillon lobster base mixed with water)
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
- Split the lobster and set aside the split tail and cracked claws; remove any lobster meat from the body section, set the tail, claws and meat aside.
- Prawns should be peeled and deveined. I left the last tail section intact.
- Mussels should be rinsed and scrubbed and close tightly when tapped.
- Chop vegetables and set aside.
- Heat oil in a small to medium paella pan or large nonstick skillet and saute the chorizo, onion, pepper, and garlic until vegetables soften.
- Add the bay leaves, diced tomatoes, wine, saffron and choricero pepper, cooking a few minutes until wine evaporates.
- Add the rice, and stock, stirring gently.
- Arrange seafood piece across the top of the pan contents, sprinkle with scallions and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and continue to cook, without stirring, until stock is absorbed (you will see the rice at the top then), lightly adjusting a mussel or shrimp if it needs to be pushed into the liquid or turned over.
- Serve with a little extra sprinkle of Italian parsley if desired.
From the kitchen of palatablepastime.com
Hosted by Sue Lau
- Arroz negro (Spanish black rice paella) from Caroline’s Cooking
- Chicken, Sausage and Shrimp Paella from Cookaholic Wife
- Easy Mixed Paella from Food Lust People Love
- Paella Bogavante from Palatable Pastime
- Veg Paella from Sneha’s Recipe