One-Pot Wonders

Paella de Marisco

October 18, 2010
2 Ratings
  • Serves 2 hungry folks or 4 as part of a multicourse meal
Author Notes

One of the big problems presented by seafood paella is grossly overcooked seafood. It is hard to get the rice and the seafood done at the same time. What it comes down to is picking seafood that can take longer to cook and looking for things you can easily spread around the top midway or further into the cooking. I also like to choose things that are whole. It is kind of like meat on the bone. I just think whole shrimp head and shell on are more succulent and not so dry. Mussels as they open leak out their flavorful broth to enhance the rice even further. The whole fish, well, baked whole fish just gets that great texture and is so moist why wouldn't you. The lemons are dyn-o-mite to eat so don't discard them and I like to serve this with mayonnaise. - thirschfeld —thirschfeld

Test Kitchen Notes

Thirschfeld’s paella is seafood galore – anywhere you dip a spoon, you’ll end up with delicious treasures. A tender bite of fennel, an umami-rich piece of sundried tomato, smoky spice from the fennel seeds and poblano peppers are all lovingly held together by soft, moist rice and accompanied by perfectly cooked seafood. I served mine with both chopped cilantro and parsley leaves. I wonder what a touch of Pernod would do to lift the aniseed flavours? Maybe next time. - Kitchen Butterfly —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • olive oil
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed cored and julienned, tops, minced about 1/3 cup
  • 1 onion julienned
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes in oil, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seed, ground
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • pinch of saffron
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 cups canned, unsalted clam broth
  • 1 whole sea bream, cleaned and scaled, about 3/4 lb
  • 14 or so mussels, beards removed and srubbed
  • 14 or so 21-25 shrimp, head and shell on
  • 3 red poblanos, or poblanos, roasted, skinned and cut in half, seeds removed
  • 1 lemon, scrubbed, cut into 12 paper thin sliced
  • 1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chive, minced
  • kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Add the saffron to the water.
  2. Once the oven is to temperature, heat a 14 inch paella pan or a 14 inch skillet over medium high heat. Coat the pan with some olive oil.
  3. Add the fennel and onions, season with a heavy pinch of salt and pepper, and cook until wilted. Turn the heat to high and add the arborio rice and stir to coat the grains with oil. Add the garlic, sun dried tomatoes and fennel seed.
  4. Once the garlic is fragrant add the wine. Let it reduce and then add the clam broth and the saffron water. Place the fish in the middle. Now place the peppers, 10 of the lemon slices around the rice. Place the remaining 2 slices of lemon on the fish. Season with more salt and pepper.
  5. Shake the pan a couple of times to even out the rice, bring to a boil, then slide the pan into the oven. Set a timer for 15 minutes.
  6. At the end of the 15 minutes open the oven door and scatter the mussels around the pan. Set a timer for 5 minutes.
  7. When the timer goes off open the oven and scatter the shrimp. Close the door and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes. Remove it from the oven and garnish with the parsley and chives. Serve with garlicky mayonnaise, crusty bread and a simple salad.
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  • pierino
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23 Reviews

possiblymef August 22, 2012
A real knock in terms of flavor. I used preserved lemons instead of fresh (well ersatz preseved, I boiled chunks of lemon in salt water and let them soak for a couple of hours) and made my own clam broth.

Made this for a crowd (12) and had a bit of trouble with not very even oven temp. the rice, onion and fennel layer was a bit thick and got crispy on the bottom while the fish and shrimp need to be cooked more. In the end took the fish and shrimp out and let them cook a little longer separately
LanR October 22, 2010
This looks so delicious. can't wait to try it!
pierino October 21, 2010
T bro, what did you teach the fish to do?
thirschfeld October 21, 2010
I was mostly there just to keep them in schools.
Kristen M. November 4, 2010
You fellas sure make me smile.
Hilarybee October 21, 2010
This looks amazing. I love seafood and I love paella. I think shrimp and craw dads taste better with the heads on. This is a perfect application. I always have a rough time finding intact shrimp. I live in a landlocked state and finding fish and shellfish that is high quality and I feel comfortable working with rarely happens.
thirschfeld October 21, 2010
Hillarybee, we don't live to fare from each other and I often run into the same problem. Having worked in restaurants and having taught fish and seafood I was fortunate to find places to get good seafood. But things change and places go out of business and for a long time I had a hard time getting anything good. Fortunately a chef friend started a seafood market and will order whatever I want. My advice to you is to get to know you fish monger. Even at some of the local groceries they will special order for you. I have seen some beautiful red snapper at Meijier of all places. Do you have Meijeirs groceries in Dayton?
Hilarybee October 23, 2010
We have a whole bunch of Meijer stores, but I have never found their selection that promising. Admittedly, our Meijer stores are on the low-end, and are not nearly as nice as the ones in Michigan where I grew up. We have a fantastic family owned chain called Dorothy Lane Market where I generally get my fish and seafood. If you are ever in Dayton, do visit the DLM- the selection is amazing and I spend a lot of time dreaming and drooling. They have done a great job getting special orders for me on holidays. They have a beautiful case, but the prices are through the roof, to a point where it is cost prohibitive for me. We also have a year-round farmers market that has a fish monger. The selection is high quality but generally limited to shrimp, tuna, and salmon.
thirschfeld October 23, 2010
Until recently our Meijeirs weren't as good either and mostly o went their for diapers. Then cruising the fish and butcher cases lately I have stumbled across some nice things. I always check ingredients list at Meijier because they often do weird things to their meat. Yes, fish and seafood is very expensive here too, but I also know it isn't cheap on the coast either. Such is life, sigh.
fiveandspice October 19, 2010
Well now, I think I know exactly what recipe I'm going to be using to make my first ever attempt at paella. Gorgeous!
thirschfeld October 20, 2010
thanks fiveandspice. I think making paella is good fun.
Oui, C. October 19, 2010
Holy crap....this is even prettier than your first entry! Love the whole fish and the shell-on shrimp, and the paper thin slices of lemon sound perfect. - S
thirschfeld October 19, 2010
thanks Oui, I have been keeping my eye out for an entry from you and am looking forward to it.
Lizthechef October 19, 2010
I love an all seafood paella and yours looks wonderful. Thumbs up!
thirschfeld October 19, 2010
thanks Lizthechef
Waverly October 19, 2010
Lovely photograph and recipe.
thirschfeld October 19, 2010
thank you Waverly
pierino October 19, 2010
Brotha' T Rex, I'm completely down with you on keeping the seafood intact (shell on, head on). I still have to get my own paella posted, but I have to run over to the coast or the freshest stuff I can find. Saw some nice prawns yesterday. My mantra right now is, "Must make paella, must paella."
thirschfeld October 19, 2010
Would that be a Marc Bolan reference there. I hear ya and I am waiting to see what you get posted.
Midge October 19, 2010
Wow, that's a knockout. I love all the flavors and the idea of keeping the fish and shrimps whole. May just attempt this one.
thirschfeld October 19, 2010
thanks Midge. Let me know how it goes if you give it a try.
dymnyno October 18, 2010
Nice recipe! Beautiful photo! I like that you used fennel, seed, lemon and peppers for flavor and heat . I love the fact that it is all seafood.
thirschfeld October 18, 2010
Thanks dymnyno. I think I have one more paella in me this week. It is bird hunting season after all.