This traditional Spanish seafood paella recipe is an elegant rice dish made with mussels, clams, shrimp, chorizo and a rich saffron-scented broth.
Did you know that Paella is the national rice dish of Spain?
The best seafood paella is generally made with chorizo, Bomba rice, saffron and a Sofrito that’s comprised of a slowly cooked mixture of garlic, onions, peppers, tomatoes and saffron. Sofrito can also be used to flavor stews, soups and pasta dishes.
Most of the flavoring in a good Paella recipe also comes from smoked paprika. Then, you can add almost anything to this dish, such as seafood, chicken, and any kind of meat that you prefer.
A lot of times you’ll see seafood paellas that are brightly colored and screaming yellow. That is just the saffron. However, the best paellas get their flavor and coloring from the smoked paprika. So it’s fine to have your colors look a little more “rusty.”
Roasted piquillo peppers are another important ingredient in this dish. Piquillo peppers are a bittersweet pepper that are less sweet than standard red bell peppers. You can buy them jarred on Amazon, or prepare them fresh. If preparing them fresh, you’ll need to roast them, take the skin off, remove the seeds, and then julienne them into strips.
This recipe for Seafood Paella is made with scallops, mussels, clams, and shrimp. We’re going to top it off with a saffron aïoli, which is also known as a saffron rouille. This is comprised of mayonnaise, saffron, harissa paste and sometimes puréed potato.
Be sure to buy a real paella pan for this recipe. You can buy an authentic Spanish Paella pan on Amazon for less than $20. I recommend the Vaello Campos La Valenciana brand, made with polished steel.
Always quickly wash and dry your paella pan after each use, and put a thin layer of oil on it to preserve its integrity and keep it well seasoned.
Seafood Paella Ingredients
Although the amount of ingredients may seem intimidating, this seafood paella recipe is quite easy to prepare. Measure out all of your food in the beginning so you’re ready to assemble the dish.
Four of the key ingredients in Spanish Paella are saffron threads, Spanish chorizo, Bomba rice and paprika. If you don’t want to invest in three types of paprika, one sweet smoked Spanish paprika will do.
Here’s your shopping list:
- Roma tomatoes
- Garlic cloves
- Saffron threads
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Spanish chorizo
- Roasted piquillo peppers
- Bay scallops
- Bomba rice
- Spanish Smoked paprika
- Chicken stock
How to make Spanish Seafood Paella
To prepare this delicious seafood paella, you can speed up the process by par-cooking your rice. For best results, use Spanish Bomba rice, which is a short-grained white rice.
Next, combine the rice with the paprika, peas, peppers and scallops. Add a little bit of salt and pepper, and mix it up until combined.
Cooking the Paella
Place your paella pan over a medium flame. Add the sofrito (onions, tomatoes and garlic) into a non reactive pan and cover halfway with olive oil. Sprinkle the saffron threads on top. Cook until very soft and well combined.
Add the chorizo and saute briefly, until the chorizo is lightly browned. You don’t want too much heat. It’s going to cook fast, because the pan is thin.
Once the chorizo has rendered its fat and the onions start to brown, add the rice mixture to the pan. Stir and mix well. Let the rice cook on the bottom so that the paella will have a little bit of a crust.
Next, add the chicken stock along with a few more strands of saffron.
Check your seasonings by tasting the broth. You’re going to get a heavy dose of smoked paprika, but these flavors will settle as the dish cooks.
Once the broth is almost to a boil, add the clams, mussels, and shrimp to the rice mixture. Always put the seafood in with the hinge side down so that the clams open up and you can see the interior.
Finishing the Paella
Cover the pan with foil and let it finish cooking in the oven at about 500 F.
When you remove the paella from the oven, after about 10 minutes or so, you’ll see that the shellfish have opened and the smell is incredible!
To finish the dish, add a few dollops of the saffron aioli on top, along with a little bit of minced parsley. Enjoy!
Spanish Seafood Paella Video
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Spanish Seafood PaellaRecipe by Jason Hill – CookingSessions.com
- 1 onion diced
- 3 Roma tomatoes diced
- 10 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon saffron threads
For the Paella
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup Spanish Chorizo diced
- 1/4 cup roasted Piquillo peppers diced
- 2 tablespoons English Peas
- 1/4 cup sofrito mixture seen above
- 1/4 cup Bay scallops
- 1/2 cup Bomba short grain rice
- 1/2 tablespoon Smoked paprika
- 1/2 tablespoon Sweet paprika
- 1/2 tablespoon Hot Spanish paprika
- 3/4 cup chicken stock or saffron broth
- 2 large shrimp peeled and deveined
- 3 clams cleaned
- 3 mussels cleaned
Make the Saffron Aioli
- Mix together the ingredients until well combined. Chill until ready to use.
Make the Sofrito
- Mix together the ingredients and set aside 1/4 cup for this dish. Reserve the rest for pasta, soups, stews or other dishes.
Prepare the Paella
- Place the sofrito into the paella pan with a generous amount of olive oil. Sprinkle the saffron threads on top and place over medium heat. Cook until very soft and well combined.
- Add the chorizo and peppers briefly, until the chorizo is lightly browned.
- Add the peas, sofrito mixture, chicken, scallops, rice and paprika. Mix in the pan until well combined.
- Add the chicken stock (or saffron broth), barely covering the rice. Bring the pan to a boil Cover with aluminum foil or a lid.
- Place the paella pan into a 375 F oven for about 30 minutes, or until the rice is ¾ of the way cooked.
- Add the shrimp, mussels and clams to the rice, arranging it attractively.
- Re-cover the pan and cook another 10 minutes, or until the rice and seafood are cooked.
- Remove from the oven. Top with garlic aioli and serve.
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