I have written this to serve only six people because most recipes for paella feed more people than anybody could possibly have a pan large enough for in their own home. If you are lucky enough to possess an enormous frying pan or, even better, a paellera, then by all means double up the quantities in this recipe. Paella is one of those dishes that often contain just about everything in the fridge. However, what I like about it are the flavours of olive oil, garlic and saffron together with seafood and some good, large-grained rice. Keep it simple, in other words. The best rice to use is Valencia rice but this is still hard to get in Britain. I use Italian risotto rice, which I think works nearly as well.
|1||cooked lobster, weighing about 450g (1lb)|
|1.2l / 2 pints||chicken stock|
|2||fresh bay leaves|
|1||large leek, sliced|
|85ml / 3 fl oz||extra virgin olive oil|
|450g / 1lb||monkfish fillet, cut into slices 1cm (½ in) thick|
|100g / 4oz||prepared small squid, sliced|
|1||medium onion, finely chopped|
|8||garlic cloves, 4 finely chopped and 4 cut into quarters|
|1||red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced|
|450g / 1lb||Arborio or Valencia rice|
|Scant ½ tsp saffron strands|
|6||cooked Mediterranean prawns (crevettes)|
You will need a large saucepan or frying pan, around 30cm across.
Pull the claws and legs off the lobster and then detach the head from the tail. Cut the tail into pieces at each section and the claws into 3 and set aside. Put the lobster head and legs into a pan with the chicken stock, bay leaves and the green part of the leek. Bring to the boil, then leave to simmer until reduced to 900ml (1½ pints). Strain the stock through a sieve into a clean pan and set aside.
Put the mussels into a pan with a splash of the stock. Cover and cook over a high heat for 3-4 minutes, until opened. Lift the mussels out of the cooking liquid, discarding any that remain closed, then cover and set aside. Pour all of the liquid back into the stock except the last tablespoonful, which is often gritty.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan or shallow saucepan - you will need one that is about 30cm (12 in) across. Add the monkfish and fry for 3 minutes, turning it over after 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the squid and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, until lightly browned. Set aside with the monkfish. Add the onion, the chopped and the quartered garlic, the white part of the leek and the red pepper to the pan and fry for 4–5 minutes, until softened and lightly browned. Add the rice and stir until all the grains are well coated with the oil. Add the saffron and stock and bring to the boil. Season with salt and pepper then lower the heat, cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
Uncover the rice and lay the pieces of lobster monkfish, squid, mussels and prawns on top. Cover and cook gently for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave for 5 minutes, then uncover and gently fork the seafood and rice together before serving.