Why do I love making this dish? It is market fresh and an all in one meal that tastes like it took all day to make. In reality it is really quick to make especially after you have done it a few times.
I can go for a walk around the radius of 3 blocks and gather all the ingredients I need when the mood strikes for something smokey, fresh and worthy of some props from the Hubby (this is one of his favourite dishes). There is a fish market just down the street that has a very knowledgeable staff that will tell you straight up how the mussels, prawns or just about everything else is. The variety of fresh and frozen items in stock is fantastic. Looking for some squid tubes? Yup they got it. Plus so much more.
Growing up the extent of seafood was a little limited. Canned fish in oil, some fresh fish caught by my Dad on the odd journey away from the farm, salmon packed in tins or some frozen fish fillets. Mussels and the such were not a staple in our home. Since then I have really tried to embrace a wider range of seafood. I am no expert. I leave that to, well, the experts.
When dabbling with something new it is best to rely on those with some sage advice. There is nothing shameful in not knowing something. Just being stubborn and not learning is not the way to go. Have you ever walked into a shop and new little to nothing about the products there? It happens to me all the time. One of the reasons I love to visit this fish market is because I usually end up learning something new every time I go. It is great when people are willing to share their knowledge freely and ask questions about what you are making, why you are looking for something and let you know things. Such information on my last trip contained that the mussels were sleepy right now, when was I needing to use them by and this is what you need to do to ‘wake’ them up. Come on now! Important permanence for a would be dish to be fabulous.
Not only do they provide information in a friendly, non-threatening tone, but they also hand out colouring pages for my daughter as they ask her if she had seen the live lobsters. The lobsters are the obvious hit with the younger crowd and I kind of feel sorry for the clams as they really don’t get the attention they should. Lol.
Now I know what you might be thinking. Oh great, she has this wonderful little store that has great staff, great seafood and are full of knowledge and where is mine? Well the good news is you just need to give people a chance. Those shops are nearby and if you are able to open up about asking for help you might just have the star of a great relationship.
For some reason people like to help when they are given the chance. That has been my hardest lesson to learn and honestly I do forget about it at times, but I’m getting better.
So head on down, ask some questions, get some answers and make something great!
Oh and the spicy part of the recipe is not really hot spicy, but more full of fabulous flavour spicy.
Spicy Seafood Paella
Open your mind to a new adventure and try some spicy seafood paella!
- 5 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped finely
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
- 2 tomatoes, peels and chopped
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
- 2 squid tubes, cleaned and cut into rings
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup white wine
- 12 jumbo shrimp in with shell removed, tail left on
- 1 lb fresh mussels, cleaned
- 1/2 lemon, slices
- 1/4 cup fresh cut parsley
- In a medium sauce pan pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, reduce heat and let simmer.
- While the stock is heating up, place a paella pan or large enameled cast iron pan on a separate burner over medium high heat. Heat up the olive oil. Add in the onions and cook until translucent and soft. Add in the garlic and cook until just aromatic. Next add in the rice and heat until lightly browned and they start popping.
- Add in the tomatoes, sugar, salt, smoked paprika and red chili flakes. Cook until the tomatoes create a thick sauce.
- Deglaze the pan with the white wine is mostly absorbed. Reduce heat to medium and add in the squid rings along with a couple of ladles full of the stock at a time waiting until the rice has mostly absorbed the stock before adding the next couple of ladles full. Continue until all the stock has been absorbed and the rice is mostly cooked, this will take approximately 18-20 minutes. While the rice is cooking stir sparingly. Just enough to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Add the prepared prawns and the mussels on the top of the rice. Place a cover on the pan and let cook for 10 minutes. Turn over the prawns and let cook for an additional 5 minutes until fully cooked. Remove any mussels that did not open.
- Serve in shallow bowls and garnish with slices of lemon and cut parsley.