No trip to Spain would be complete without sampling their famous rice dish, paella. The ingredients vary from region to region, but this recipe uses white fish fillets, squid and mussels. Serve with crusty wholemeal bread.
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
4 cups fish stock (reduced-salt if possible)
400g squid, cleaned and prepared
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
200g fish fillet, such as bream, snapper or perch, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 large red capsicums, seeded and chopped
1 1/4 cups long-grain white rice
220g canned no-salt-added chopped tomatoes
150g frozen peas
12 mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
pepper to taste
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley to garnish
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Place the saffron threads in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and stir until they begin to give off an aroma. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Remove the pan from the heat, cover and set aside to infuse.
Slice the squid into thin strips. Set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a frying pan. Add the fish pieces and quickly fry on all sides until lightly browned. Remove and set aside. Add the remaining oil to the pan. Add the garlic, onion and paprika and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the red capsicum and cook for about 3 minutes or until softened but not brown.
Stir in the rice so all the grains are well coated with oil. Bring the saffron-infused stock to simmering point and add half of it to the rice. Stir, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes or until the liquid is almost all absorbed.
Add the rice mixture to the stock remaining in the large pan. Gently stir in the tomatoes with their juice, the peas and fish pieces. Arrange the mussels on the top. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Very gently stir in the squid, then simmer for a further 15 minutes or until the rice is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed. Season with pepper.
Remove the pan from the heat, cover and leave to stand for 5 minutes. Discard any mussels that have not opened. Sprinkle the top of the paella with the parsley and serve.
Using the stock obtained by boiling the head, skin and bones from any white fish not only adds flavour to a dish but also some nutrients. Any vitamins and minerals that leach out into the water will make a nutritious contribution to the dish.