Paella recipe

A friend we knew from the International House about 8 years ago (in 2003), Mario Llorca, lives in Bella Terra (an upscale suburb of Barcelona) and he invited us (along with Amalia and Swapnil) to his home for a paella feast.  We took the regional train and walked to his beautiful house with a hammock in the front and a view filled with trees and houses sprinkled in the green hills.  I always wondered how to make a delicious paella de mariscos…and Mario shared with me his recipe that he learned from his mom:

First, you need an iron paella skillet (since he was cooking for 8-9 people, his skillet was so large that it covered all four burners on the stove).

  1. Add aceite de girasol (vegetable oil) and stir-fry your seafood – a handful of sepia (a type of calamari), calamari, clams, langostinos, and large shrimp – until the shellfish open and the shrimp turn pink.
  2. Place the seafood aside.
  3. Finely dice the following vegetables (can be modified based on preferences): onions, red bell peppers, and green beans.  Grate a tomato so that only the liquid remains without the skin.
  4. Heat more aceite and add the vegetables and liquefied tomato into the skillet until the onions brown.
  5. Then comes the fun part: add in the seafood along with short-grain white rice (he added 1 kg) and double the water (he added 3 milk-size cartons of caldo de pescado).  At this point, also add the uncooked mussels.  For spices, add bay leaves and salt to taste.
  6. Let the rice boil at medium heat for 18 minutes and the mussels will cook with the steam (al vapor).
  7. Right before serving, add a pinch of saffron for color and flavor.
  8. Enjoy!

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