After doing some extensive research on where to eat our first authentic Valencian paella, we opted for a little restaurant in the old town called Bodegó de la Sarieta. I ordered the traditional Valencian paella which came with chicken and rabbit on the bone and butter and runner beans, whilst Michele ordered a classic seafood paella. I have to say, I was very impressed with all aspects of the dish; the fact that we were warned in advance that the paella was cooked from scratch so there was a half an hour wait, the moistness of the rabbit which is so easy to overcook, the great depth of flavour and the salty 'crust' on the bottom of the pan, called the socarrat, which indicates a top notch, smokey flavoured paella.
|Michele and the paellas!|
When I arrived in Malaga some days later I was telling my Spanish neighbour, Clotty, about my fantastic dining experience in Valencia and she offered to show me how she made her legendary seafood paella, and the secret to getting that perfect socarrat on the bottom. She was entertaining for a family birthday so the quantities were a little more than I would ever normally need but here is the scaled-down recipe!
Clotty's Seafood Paella
Before starting Clotty advises me that the key to a good paella is to resist the temptation to stir! She explains that unlike a risotto, the idea isn't to make a creamy stock with the rice but rather to allow the stock to be absorbed. She also suggests to keep turning the pan around every so often to ensure that the rice is cooked evenly and there are no burnt bits.
5 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 large spanish onions, finely chopped
2 peppers, (Clotty used one red and one green) chopped into 1cm pieces
2 tsp pimentón picante
400g fresh squid, dried with kitchen paper, seasoned and cut into 3cm pieces
200g large peeled prawns (uncooked)
400g small clams, washed
600g short-grain paella rice, such as Calasparra
1 generous pinch of saffron strands
1.5 litres fish stock (Clotty made hers from scratch a couple of days before)
250g mussels, cleaned
6 cooked langoustines
|Clotty and her pan!|