This Summer Seafood Paella recipe is absolutely stunning. From the fresh ingredients and dynamic flavors, to the cooking process and presentation, it’s truly magical.We recently took a family vacation to New York. We planned the trip around the wedding of our friends, Ed and Danielle in Woodstock, and it was gorgeous! One of the highlights of the trip was a spectacular Summer Seafood Paella recipe.
The day after the wedding, Danielle’s mom invited all the guests to return to the house for paella made by her friend Silvia. I was looking forward to this, I had no idea what I was in for.
Silvia is from Spain, and she’s a chef, caterer and cooking instructor. When we arrived, I immediately spotted an enormous, shiny paella pan with its own special burner, sitting poolside, no less!
As I passed through the kitchen, I saw the prep area filled with fresh ingredients.
When I headed back outside, I passed by these freshly cleaned clams and mussels, and this lobster, just hanging out is some ice, just waiting to go into the seafood paella recipe.
As the onions and peppers began to sizzle in olive oil, the excitement mounted. Then Silvia gracefully tossed in the mussels, followed by the clams and calamari. Once they opened up, she removed them from them pan.
Then fried tomato sauce was added to the pan, followed by stock — a lobster stock infused with saffron. This summer seafood paella was getting better and better by the minute.
The lobsters were next! It was dramatic — though calm and peaceful at the same time.
The rice was added sometime between the stock and the lobsters.
I suspect it was Bomba rice, which is a Spanish short-grain rice that when cooked, expands in width, and is able to absorb three times its volume in liquid. I heard Silvia say she’d had it sent from Valencia, Spain! I was watching the world’s best Summer Seafood Paella recipe being made.
While the paella was cooking, guests were swimming, laying around the pool, and drinking sangria.
After the stock and before the lobster, it started raining. No big deal, though. Someone quickly placed a big, yellow umbrella on a stand over Silvia, the pan, and the prep. Here’s the view from under her umbrella.
By the time the summer seafood paella was ready, it was pouring. It took a few people to bring the paella into the tented tennis court, which was the dance floor at the wedding.
And after all of that cooking, Silvia served each and every one of us herself — around 50 guests! We toasted the chef and dug into this oh-so-delicious summer seafood paella!
I was too busy taking pictures and enjoying the “show” to ask too many questions about ingredients and measurements. I’m pretty certain that Silvia makes this seafood paella recipe by memory — it seemed like second nature to her.
Below is my paella recipe, which Silvia inspired me to make. It’s a perfect weekend cooking project — a long and beautiful process. My favorite way to cook paella is outdoors on the BBQ. (Since I don’t have one of those super cool paella burners!) It also makes for a fun party — everyone hangs around the BBQ watching, drinking, and chatting.
You can find every Spanish ingredient you need for paella at, La Español Meats.
Enjoy this over-the-top Summer Seafood Paella Recipe!
This Summer Seafood Paella recipe is absolutely stunning. From the fresh ingredients and dynamic flavors, to the cooking process and presentation, it's truly magical.
- olive oil for the pan
- 1 (approximately 2 3/4 pound) whole chicken, cut up, skin-off, bone-in
- 1 pound chorizo, sliced
- 1 1/2 cups onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 6 medium-sized tomatoes, peeled, seeded, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon saffron threads
- 5 cups Bomba rice
- approximately 3 quarts chicken stock
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 cups Piquillo peppers, roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 cup peas
- 1/2 pound green beans, steamed
- 2 dozen medium-sized shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail on
- 2 dozen Mediterranean mussels, beards removed, cleaned
Coat a large paella pan (approximately 15-inches), with the olive oil. Add the chicken to the pan and cook for about a minute on each side, without browning. Pour about 1 quart of the stock over the chicken and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover with foil, and cook for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the chicken form the pan and place on a baking sheet to cool. Pour the stock from the pan into a bowl and save it for later. Once the chicken is cool enough to touch, remove the meat from the bones into bite-sized pieces, and set aside.
Over medium-high heat, add the chorizo to the paella pan and cook until it's nicely browned. Remove it from the pan and set it aside.
Using a bit more olive oil if necessary, add the onions and garlic to the pan, and cook until the onions are soft, about 7 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the tomatoes, and add the paprika, saffron and rice, and stir to combine. Season generously with salt and immediately add the remaining stock, along with half of the sausage.
Cook until most, but not all, of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. Then stir in the rest of the sausage, the chicken, peppers, peas, green beans, and shrimp. Continue to cook until the shrimp is pink, and the rice has absorbed just about all the stock and is aldente.
Finally, arrange the mussels around the edges of the paella pan and cover it with cheesecloth, gently tucking it into the rice along the sides. Continue to cook just until the mussels open.
It's best to season the paella with salt and a bit of pepper as you work, because as the pan becomes more full with ingredients, it can become more difficult to stir.