Decadent mock seafood paella

Tue, 06/30/2020 - 1:00pm

Paella is a traditional Spanish dish that originated in the Valencia region on the east coast of Spain. It’s a great dish for parties and makes a gorgeous presentation when set in the middle of your table. My ‘mock’ preparation uses pre-cooked rice rather than cooking the raw rice in the pan and is a great way to use up leftover rice. You can mix up the seafood combination to include mussels or clams, and many traditional paellas also have chicken, duck, or sausage.  Whatever proteins you choose, be sure to include saffron which is the classic paella spice and definitely get that crispy rice on the bottom of the pan, known as the socarrat. Oh… and a nice bottle of  Spanish red and some crusty bread are a must!!

Decadent mock seafood paella

2 Tbsp. butter

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 lb. scallops

1 ¼ tsp. salt

1 1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 onion, chopped

6 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

1 small red bell pepper, chopped

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. saffron powder or threads

1/2 cup lobster stock or fish stock

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 cups cooked rice

1/2 lb. large raw shrimp

1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

1 cup cooked lobster meat, chopped into large bite-size pieces

3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

1 lemon, cut into slices

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large cast iron skillet until very hot.  Place the scallops on paper towels and pat dry. Remove the tough muscle on the side if it is still attached. Season the scallops with 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Place the scallops in the hot skillet, careful not to crowd them. Sear on the first side for about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes until golden and caramelized. Flip and cook for 1 minute on the other side. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

Add the onion, garlic, and red bell pepper to the pan drippings and cook until fragrant and soft, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, paprika, saffron, stock, and wine to the pan. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid reduces by half.  Stir in the rice and shrimp and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring frequently until the shrimp turn pink and are mostly cooked through.  

Add the peas, lobster, and scallops to the pan. Stir to combine and then press the mixture into one even layer and press down. Let cook without mixing for 2 to 3 minutes more allowing any excess liquid to absorb and a crispy crust (socarrat) to form on the bottom of the rice. Remove from heat and drizzle with the lemon juice. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with lemon slices and chopped parsley and... devour.