Seafood Paella

crocus2


I am looking forward to spring...true, sans the allergies of course, I'm waiting for the buds and all the glorious flowers to bloom. Every year, tulips and crocuses are the firsts to bud up at the side streets, competing well with my favorite flowers, sakura (cherry blossoms). The kids were also on the lookout...on our way home last Friday, my girl pointed the shoots of what seem to be tulips...let's see next week if they come out. The weather has been nice last week and we really thought it would stay at 5-7° but we were back in the negative.


So what has the crocus got to do with my  Ruby Tuesday post?  Well, this is related to the flower that produces the most expensive spice in the world, saffron.



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Saffron are dried stigmas of Crocus sativus, used in cooking as a seasoning and colouring agent. It's aroma is often said to have the scent of both honey and grass, tastes hay-like and somewhat bitter. Saffron, although red, gives a luminous yellow-orange colouring to foods. Thus, the perfect spice for seafood Paella.


paella--


There 's no fixed rule in cooking Paella, everyone has their own favourite recipe and different preferences. I don't have squid at this time nor a paellera...but I don't think that makes this dish less than perfect. I put in fish fillets to make up for the squid and the mussels were removed from their shells, got some chickpeas as well. Not the usual presentable Paella from a Spanish restaurant, just home made...



INGREDIENTS:

1 small onion, finely chopped
1 green pepper, finely chopped
½ red pepper, boiled until soft and then cut into long thin strips
2 medium-sized tomatoes, skinned and finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
100g peas, cooked
200g prawns (if using cooked prawns substitute fish stock for the water)
200g small clams
200g squid
12 mussels
350g rice
2 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
a pinch of saffron strands
a sprig of parsley, finely chopped
olive oil
about 800ml water

PREPARATION:

Wash the seafoods well.

In a pestle and mortar, grind the garlic, saffron (if using), parsley and a pinch of salt.

RECIPE:

In a paellera or a large frying pan, heat some olive oil and add onions, green pepper and carrot and fry gently for about five minutes. Add the chopped tomato and squid, if you have (with the tentacles) and fry on a low heat for another ten minutes.


Add rice and stir well.  Add water (or stock) clams and the saffron mixture and bring to a boil. Season with salt. Cover on low fire and cook  for about ten minutes. Add the prawns and peas and give it a stir. Arrange the mussels and strips of red pepper artistically on top (in this case I didn't really do that lol), put the lid back on and leave for another ten minutes - checking that it has enough water. If you think it is getting too dry, add more water, but shake the handle of the pan rather than stir so as not to upset the pattern.



¡QuĂ© aproveche!



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Lindz  – (March 8, 2010 at 11:31 AM)  

oh I love paella especially with red capsicum, the lovely flower are making me revive my garden LOL!!

toby  – (March 8, 2010 at 12:16 PM)  

I never knew that saffron was from crocuses - that's so interesting!

felisol  – (March 8, 2010 at 12:20 PM)  

Paella is a favorite dish.
I've never tried to make it with saffron though.
Far too expensive for me.
Beautiful pictures.
We have a half meter of snow in the garden.
I'm so longing to see my crocus again.

joey  – (March 8, 2010 at 1:17 PM)  

Looks yummy! Paella is such a casual dish really so you are right that everyone has a different version and you can substitute all you want :) I think each version has the cook's own signature and that's what makes it special :)

Patti V.  – (March 8, 2010 at 2:28 PM)  

That recipe sounds delicious. And that closeup of the crocus is lovely.

Happy Ruby Tuesday.

Leora  – (March 8, 2010 at 5:40 PM)  

How delightful, both the paella and the fresh saffron. A beautiful crocus to welcome spring.

Maria  – (March 8, 2010 at 11:48 PM)  

Yummy, i love paella and your recipe sounds delicious. I have to try it!
Happy ruby:)

mizhelle  – (March 9, 2010 at 8:29 AM)  

looks really yummy and the flower is so lovely!

u may view mine here

Oggi  – (March 12, 2010 at 9:11 AM)  

That's a pretty crocus photo. I can't wait for spring!:)

The paella looks yummy.

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