With this cold weather slowly fading, the Vitoli team and I have decided to bring you another seafood creation, as we haven’t made many thus far. On the same note, vitamin D and zinc are essential during the winter season, and should be throughout the entire year, supplemented with high quality olive polyphenols, just like those in Vitoli products, to maintain optimal immunity that can face up to any virus.
In this regard, a recent study (Kim et al., 2021), carried out among 2884 front-line health workers from six countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, United States), demonstrated a reduction of 73% and 59% lower risk of moderate to severe Covid-19 for people with plant-based diets or consuming less red and processed meat, respectively. For vitamin D3, they were 14 times less at risk of hospitalization and 10 times less at risk of death for those with high blood pressure levels (Dror et al., 2022).
Hence our great interest in the Mediterranean diet which contains olive polyphenols and seafood. We have therefore chosen to offer you a simplified seafood paella. Above all, don’t stress, your chef is well aware that this is a dish that requires a certain level of difficulty. We wisely thought of simplifying it for you. Even if you don’t have a large propane burner with the traditional skillet, fear not, we’ve thought of a solution, so you can make it from the comfort of your home.
Our chef found some history on this Spanish delight. According to his findings, it is believed that at the time of the Moorish kings, the servants used more than creative ingenuity to concoct original rice dishes from all kinds of leftovers from royal banquets. Some say that the word “Paella” comes from the word “baqiyah” which means remaining. Linguists agree that the word “Paella” would be associated with a cooking tool to create the dish: a large flat stainless-steel pan. The latter, because of its gigantic size, is often used on a fire, or even a propane provision designed to cook to such a dish.
It is without a doubt that a paella without adequate rice, will give you a porridge-like outcome, which would be far from the desired result. One expects a separate grain of rice, bursting with flavor. It is possible to find traditional paella rice in some delicatessens. Among the traditional paella rice, the most common are Bomba, Senia, Bahia and Calsparra. Since paella is of Spanish origin, several Latin American countries have adopted this type of dish. If you don’t have the right grain, calrose rice is used: a variety closely related to bomba rice.
Did you know that calrose rice would have been a purely experimental project? This grain was born in an experimental rice field, funded by Davis University, California. It is since 1940 that the variety has enjoyed dizzying success with the American population, and even Asia. According to rice farmers, calrose is very productive.
It is thus a princely dish, with a saffron aroma and flavor, which will impress your friends and family! We promise you an unparalleled culinary journey with our seafood paella recipe. We have chosen to opt for a paella with Valencian influences, from the south of Spain, because we added green vegetables. You will not be able to eat this dish alone, which is why we advise you to have a few guests with you.
Simplified Seafood Paella
(… In southern Spanish colors; those of Valencia)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- A medium onion, finely diced
- ½ of a red bell pepper cut into strips
- 1 ¼ cups of paella rice (Bomba, Senia, Bahia or Calsparra) or calrose rice
- 1 Chorizo sausage (tapas quality) unsliced
- 3 strong or mild Italian sausages
- 1 bag of colossal prawns
- About twenty green beans, stemmed, cut in half
- Broccoli florets
- 1 box of artichoke hearts, drained and cut in half
- 1 small can of black olives well rinsed and sliced
- 1 cup of drained and well rinsed chickpeas
- 8 cups of chicken broth
- 8 cups of water with 4 cubes of Knorr fish stock
- About twenty fresh shellfish: blue mussels, clams and/or medium oysters
- A good sprig of fresh rosemary
- A whole head of unpeeled garlic
- Between 8 and 10 pistils of saffron (Dion, Jardin or another brand)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
- ½ seeded red peppers
- 4 to 6 peeled garlic cloves
- ½ of a peeled onion, halved
- ½ a teaspoon of dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
- A pinch of hot pepper flakes
- A rectangular Pyrex baking dish, measuring approximately 9 x 13 inches
- First, we are going to prepare a magic sauce called “sofrito”; this very aromatic liquefaction is the basis of several Spanish dishes. In a stand mixer or food processor, add all the ingredients required for the sofrito, as previously described. As for the olive oil, you could add half a cup. Pulse at low speed until a smooth sauce is obtained, then increase the speed for a few minutes to ensure perfect liquefaction. Set it aside; we’ll come back to it shortly.
- Now is the time to prepare a golden elixir, in which the paella will cook. To do this, you must first scrub the selected shells by rinsing them with cold water. In the case of muscles, remove any strands of “hair” coming off the shell. If you see, regardless of the shell, one that is open before cooking; simply discard it without questioning, because it could seriously poison you.
- We will make the broth from your carefully cleaned shellfish, in addition to adding other ingredients. Take out a pot that can hold up to 4 liters or even 16 cups, so that there is no overflow while the broth cooks. Over medium-high heat, to open the shells; put the shells in the bottom of the pot with 2 cups of chicken broth or water; put the lid on, then cook for about ten minutes, until the shells are open; remove them from the broth, then reserve them in the fridge so that they do not spoil.
- Continue cooking the broth by adding the remaining 6 cups of liquid, the onion, head of garlic, sprig of rosemary; salt and pepper moderately then cook for a good half hour. Thereafter, lower your heat to low, remove the sprig of rosemary, and discard your pistils of saffron. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large non-stick pan, over medium heat, pour a good cup of “sofrito”, cook it for 5-6 minutes, so that it has reduced a little. Add chorizo or sausage, onion, pepper strips; cook them until the meat is lightly browned. Then add the rice and cook another 5-6 minutes, while stirring constantly to prevent the rice from sticking. Transfer your mixture to your Pyrex dish; pour 3 to 4 cups of broth over the rice, then bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour with aluminum foil on top. Don’t throw away the rest of the broth, because it could be used, if your rice is still a little crunchy along the way.
- Halfway through cooking, check to see if the rice has fully absorbed the broth; if it is still a little crunchy, add a ladle of broth. Go slowly, one ladleful at a time, so you don’t end up with runny results! You can now add the last ingredients to the paella: artichoke hearts, black olives, green beans or broccoli, colossal prawns and chickpeas if desired. Put your dish back in the oven with its aluminum foil for the remaining 20-30 minutes.
And there you have it! Your seafood delight is finally ready; take it out of the oven, remove the aluminum foil, add the reserved shells and put the foil back. Turn off your oven, then put your Pyrex dish back in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. This will reheat the pre-cooked shellfish.
Invite your friends, prepare a white sangria and enjoy! Your home will be perfumed with an irresistible saffron smell!
- Kim et al, 2021. Plant-based diets, pescatarian diets and COVID-19 severity: a population-based case-control study in six countries. BMJ Nutr Prev Health. 2021 Jun 7;4(1):257-266. doi: 10.1136/bmjnph-2021-000272. PMID: 34308134; PMCID: PMC8219480.
- Dror et al, 2022. Pre-infection 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 levels and association with severity of COVID-19 illness. PLoS One. 2022 Feb 3;17(2):e0263069.