Easy Seafood Paella

Discover the story behind this easy and delicious seafood paella recipe, a special dish that kicked off a decade-long love story and promises to impress your loved ones.

Welcome to “Recipes with a Story,” a new series where I share not only delicious recipes but also the personal stories behind them. I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off this series than with a dish that holds a special place in my heart: Easy Seafood Paella. This recipe isn’t just a meal; it’s a piece of my love story with my husband, Nate.

Ten years ago, back when we were dating in New York, I decided to surprise Nate with a fancy meal. I loved cooking and wanted to impress him with something that looked difficult but was actually quite simple to make. Somehow, I landed on seafood paella. At the time, I had just been introduced to mussels that summer and was eager to incorporate them into my cooking. I stumbled upon a seafood paella recipe online and thought, “Why not give it a try?” With a few tweaks of my own, I was ready to create something special.

I’ll never forget the adventure of getting those mussels from Harlem to Nate’s studio in Brooklyn. We were stuck in traffic for two hours, and the car was filled with the unmistakable smell of seafood. I remember thinking, “Oh no, these mussels are not gonna make it!” But despite the fragrant car ride, we made it out of traffic and I whipped up the paella in less than an hour.

To our surprise, the dish turned out to be not only easy but incredibly delicious. We both were shocked by how simple it was to prepare such a fancy-looking meal. Little did I know, this would be the first of many meals that hinted at our future together. Years later, we traveled to Barcelona and savored authentic Spanish paella. It felt like a full-circle moment, a bit of foreshadowing from that first dish.

Can you believe it has been ten years since I last made this paella? Well, I’m thrilled to say it turned out just as good, if not better, than the first time. So, here it is, my easy seafood paella recipe. If you’re dating, consider this a word of caution: don’t make it for your partner unless you’re sure you want a proposal! 😉

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • 2 cups saffron water
  • 2 cups seafood broth
  • 1 cup diced chorizo
  • 1 pound mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails on
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Ingredients: Clean and debeard the mussels, peel and devein the shrimp and set aside.
  2. Cook the Base: Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet or paella pan over medium heat. Add the chorizo, chopped onion and red bell pepper. Sauté until the onion is translucent and the pepper is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook for another minute until fragrant.
  3. Add Rice and Spices: Stir in the Arborio rice, smoked paprika, garlic powder and onion powder. Cook for 2-3 minutes, allowing the rice to toast slightly.
  4. Deglaze and Simmer: Pour in the seafood stock and saffron water and let it simmer until mostly absorbed by the rice. Stir to combine, then let it simmer without stirring too much, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid, about 15 minutes.
  5. Add Seafood: Arrange the mussels and shrimp on top of the rice. Cover the pan with a lid or foil and let it cook for another 10 minutes, or until the mussels open and the shrimp are pink and opaque. Discard any mussels that do not open.
  6. Finish the Paella: Add the frozen peas and cook for an additional 2 minutes until heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve: Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve hot and enjoy!
Yield: 4 servings

Easy Seafood Paella

Easy Seafood Paella

Discover the story behind this easy and delicious seafood paella recipe, a special dish that kicked off a decade-long love story and promises to impress your loved ones.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • 2 cups saffron water (use warm water to bloom the saffron threads)
  • 2 cups seafood broth
  • 1 cup diced chorizo
  • 1 pound mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails on
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Ingredients: Clean and debeard the mussels, peel and devein the shrimp and set aside.
  2. Cook the Base: Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet or paella pan over medium heat. Add the chorizo, chopped onion and red bell pepper. Sauté until the onion is translucent and the pepper is softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook for another minute until fragrant.
  3. Add Rice and Spices: Stir in the Arborio rice, butter smoked paprika, garlic powder and onion powder. Cook for 2-3 minutes, allowing the rice to toast slightly.
  4. Deglaze and Simmer: Pour in the seafood stock and saffron water and let it simmer until mostly absorbed by the rice. Stir to combine, then let it simmer without stirring too much, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid, about 15 minutes.
  5. Add Seafood: Arrange the mussels and shrimp on top of the rice one rice is about 89% absorbed. Add a splash more liquid to further steam the seafood. Cover the pan with a lid or foil and let it cook for another 10 minutes, or until the mussels open and the shrimp are pink and opaque. Discard any mussels that do not open.
  6. Finish the Paella: Add the frozen peas and cook for an additional 2 minutes until heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve: Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve hot and enjoy!

Notes

I like to bloom the saffron threads in 2 cups of warm water, this allows for a bolder flavor and color. Use the water and saffron threads in the dish.

This easy seafood paella is more than just a recipe; it’s a part of my journey with Nate. From that first memorable dinner in Brooklyn to our adventures in Barcelona, this dish has always brought us closer. I hope it brings a bit of love and magic to your table as well.

Happy cooking and bon appétit!


I hope you enjoyed the first installment of “Recipes with a Story.” Stay tuned for more delicious recipes and the tales behind them!

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