I created this paella recipe after visiting Alicante in southern Spain. It’s not nearly so daring or inventive as some of the “new paellas” being served in Spain today, but it’s been much appreciated when I’ve served it to my guests. I prepare it with fresh tuna, shrimp, mussels, and artichokes simmered in a saffron and paprika-infused broth, using time-honored paella cooking techniques.
1red (bell) pepper
Fine sea salt
1poundtuna steak, cut into 1½ -inch cubes
8 large shrimp
1 large ancho chile
⅓cupdry white wine
1poundmussels, scrubbed and debearded
freshly ground pepper
5tablespoonsextra virgin olive oil
2tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic
1¼cups canned diced tomatoes
2teaspoonsSpanish smoked pimentón or sweet paprika
2pinches of saffron threads
6 to 8cupsfish stock, or 2packages (8ounces each) frozen fish fumet diluted with 4cupswater (see Note on adding shrimp shells for a more flavorful fumet)
1package (9ounces) frozen artichoke hearts, cut into 1 - inch pieces
8scallion(s), cut into 1½- inch lengths
2cups short- to medium-grain rice, preferably bomba
2tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Lemon wedges, for serving
Roast the red bell pepper under a preheated broiler, turning, until charred. Transfer the pepper to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let steam for 5 minutes. Peel the roasted pepper, discarding the core, ribs, and seeds; cut the pepper into 1 - inch pieces.
Salt the tuna cubes and the shrimp and let stand for 30 minutes; pat dry with paper towels. Meanwhile, in a heatproof bowl, cover the ancho chile with 1cup boiling water and let stand until softened, about 20 minutes; drain. Discard the stem and seeds and coarsely chop the chile.
Bring the wine to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the mussels, cover, and cook over high heat until they begin to open, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to a bowl. Pull off and discard the empty top shells, leaving the mussels on the half-shell. Season the mussels with pepper and cover with foil; reserve the cooking liquid.
Heat 2tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the chopped ancho chile and the garlic. Cook over moderately high heat until the garlic is golden, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, pimentón, saffron, and 1teaspoon salt and cook over moderate heat for 5 minutes, stirring. Transfer to a food processor and puree to a coarse paste.
In a medium saucepan, bring the fish stock to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and maintain at a simmer. In an 18 - inch paella pan or a very large skillet, heat the remaining 3tablespoons olive oil. Add the tuna and shrimp and cook over moderately high heat, tossing, until browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cover. Add the artichokes and scallions to the pan and cook over moderately high heat for 1 minute. Add the ancho-tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add 4cups of the fish stock, the reserved mussel cooking liquid, and ½teaspoon salt and bring to a boil.
Scatter the rice evenly into the pan and stir. Reduce the heat to moderate and cook for 7 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking until the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Add another 3 to 3½cups of simmering stock and cook, shaking the pan and rotating it for even cooking, until the liquid has evaporated again, about 10 minutes longer. Just before the rice is done, during the last 10 minutes of cooking, gently press the roasted red pepper, mussels, shrimp, and tuna into the paella with the back of a spoon. Continue cooking, shaking the pan, until the rice is just tender but still a bit moist.
Remove the pan from the heat and cover with a kitchen towel or paper towels and a foil tent. Let the paella rest for about 10 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with the parsley and serve with lemon wedges.