Fancy some spicy seafood paella for a long, lazy winter’s lunch on your Beach house porch? Who doesn’t! With the chilly weather well and truly here, we are craving moreish food that nourishes body and soul, and what better fits this description than a steaming pan of aromatic, spicy seafood paella. We’ve given this classic Spanish dish a bit of an SA twist with the addition of snoek, which is in season now and when smoked, beautifully echoes the wood-fired flavours imparted by the paprika and saffron. It’s coastal comfort food at its finest, best done in a fireproof steel or cast-iron paella pan on the braai. All that’s left to do is to crack open a bottle of the beachhouse Sauvignon Blanc or the beachhouse Rosé to make this paella perfect.
Ingredients (4-6 servings):
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 2 garlic cloves, crushed 1 green pepper, seeded and sliced 1 red pepper, seeded and sliced 1½ tsp smoked paprika 1 tsp saffron threads, crushed and steeped in a bit of hot water 1 x 410 g tin chopped tomatoes 6 cups water 1 fish or chicken stock cube or sachet 1½ cups Spanish Paella (Bomba) rice 300 g smoked snoek 12 large mussels in shells, debearded and scrubbed 300 g prawns, peeled and deveined 300 g calamari salt and pepper to taste lemon slices to garnish 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsleyMethod:Heat the olive oil in the paella pan over medium-hot coals. Add the onion, garlic, peppers and paprika and fry until the onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes. Bring to the boil and then simmer uncovered until almost all the liquid has evaporated. This concentrated tomato, pepper and spice base is called the sofrito and is an important building block for the flavour of the paella. Add the water and stock, and increase the heat to bring to the boil. Add the rice and steeped saffron, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes. Do not stir the rice from this point as it needs to form a nice crust at the bottom, but agitate the pan gently every now and then to make sure the cooking liquid spreads evenly. Add the mussels, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the prawns and calamari and cook for 5 minutes or until seafood is cooked and the mussels have opened. Discard any unopened mussels. Add the smoked snoek. Finally, season with salt and pepper, mix gently, and add the chopped parsley and lemon slices before serving. Buen provecho!