First, for starters, I ate the picture. That's right. Normally I add a photo of the cooked recipe I'm sharing. Well, funny story. My routine is to teach the recipe, take a picture, THEN eat it. This doggone recipe was so good, I jumped in and ate the subject of the photograph that never could have been. Never worry! I woke up today, recreated this lovely rice dish. Resolved.
A little background. Paella is a pan rice with a burst of flavors boasting it's West African & Spanish influences. Basically, when cooking and savoring paella, you're experiencing the culinary influences that resulted from the Spanish slave trade. While cruel and devastating at it's core, out of the Transatlantic Slave Trade came an unbelievable offspring of beautiful foods, music, and style that we still enjoy today. Similar to a Jollof rice with a French-African style tomato base, this rice dish expresses its Spanish influences by adding saffron and sea creatures from the Mediterranean regions, which traditionally include, squid, prawns, mussels, and more.
Here's a recipe for a quick and amazingly favorable paella. It should serve about 4-6 people, depending on how much you eat. This can be done with just vegetables, or you can add a variety of seafood, chicken, sausage, other. Get creative! I used vegetables, salmon, and shrimp.
Jennifer's Quick Seafood Paella
4 cups cooked rice, no oil added, refrigerated until cold (according to package instructions)
2 slices of bacon, cooked & chopped (optional) (Sub: 1-2 oz ham or chorizo, smoked sausage)
8-10 jumbo shrimp (thawed)
2, 4 oz salmon filets, cut in large chunks
2-3 cloves garlic
1/2 medium onion, sliced in thin, long pieces
1/2 medium sweet red bell pepper, sliced thin
1/4 cup sweet peas (you can also use lima beans, those are my favorites)
11/2 TBS smoked paprika
1 cup tomato sauce (marina is fine)
1/4 cup white wine
1 pinch of saffron
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
Heat oil in a wok or wide skillet over med-high heat
Add cooked bacon pieces (optional), shrimp, and salmon, salt, pepper. Searing the shrimp and salmon lightly on each sided, 2-3 mins. Remove from skillet, set aside on a plate. NOTE: if you are using vegetables only this is where you add them. I would use, yellow squash, zuchinni, more carrots.
Without draining the oil, add carrots, peppers, garlic, onions and toss around until fragrant and a little browned.
Add smoked paprika, saffron, tomato sauce and white wine to the skillet and bring to a boil. Allow the sauce to come to a boil and thicken. Oil should rise to the top.
Add cold rice, shrimp and salmon. Toss around until all rice is covered and fragrant. Let it cook a little to get the bottom and edge rice slightly crispy from the pan.
Garnish with lemon or lime wedges, green onion, fresh cilantro.