Simple Paella

Relive your summer holidays with this traditional Spanish dish

Marie Claire recipes: Simple Paella
Marie Claire recipes: Simple Paella

Relive your summer holidays with this traditional Spanish dish


• 250g/9 oz monkfish tail

• 250g/9 oz unpeeled prawns

• 200ml/7 fl oz olive oil

• 1 small onion, chopped

• 2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

• 500g/1 lb 2oz live warty venus clams or 1kg/2 ¼ lb mussels

• 1 green pepper and 1 red pepper, seeded and cut into squares

• 1 squid, cleaned and cut into thin strips or rings

• 600g/ 1lb 5 oz long grain rice

• 1 thickly slice garlic clove

• 1 sprig fresh parsley

• pinch of saffron threads

• 2 tbsp warm water

• 100g/3 ½ oz canned peas, drained

• ½ chorizo sausage,skinned and sliced

• salt

• lemon wedges


1) Remove grey membrane from monkfish tail, cut along either side of the backbone and remove the two fillets, cutting them into chunks. Keep the bone.

2) Peel the prawns, keeping the heads and shells.

3) Put the monkfish bone, prawn heads and shells into a pan of water, add a pinch of salt and simmer for 15 minutes.

4) Meanwhile, heat half the oil in a frying pan. Heat the onion for 5 minutes, add the tomato and cook for a further 5 minutes, breaking up the tomato with a wooden spoon. Transfer to a processor and mix into puree.

5) Put the puree into a paella pan or large, heavy based frying pan.

6) If using clams, scrub under cold water. If using mussels, scrape the shells with a knife to remove beards, then scrub under cold water. Discard shellfish with broken shells or that do not snap shut when tapped. Put the shellfish into a saucepan with 50 ml/ 2 fl oz of water and bring to the boil.

7) Cover and cook on high heat for 3-6 minutes, until shells have opened.

8) Remove shellfish, discarding those that haven't opened, and the empty half shells. Keep the full halves.

9) Drain the cooking liquid through a muslin-lined sieve into a bowl. Strain the fish and prawn stock into the same bowl. Make up to 3 pints with water if necessary. Pour stock into saucepan and heat gently.

10) Pour remaining oil into paella pan. Add the green pepper and cook over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the squid, monkfish and rice, stirring for a few minutes, but do not allow to brown.

11) Pour in the hot stock.

12) Pound the garlic, parsley and saffron in a mortar with a little salt, stir in the warm water and add to the pan.

13) Stir in the prawn tails.

14) When about half the stock has been absorbed, arrange the red pepper, shellfish, peas and chorizo attractively in the pan. Continue to cook until the rice is tender and all the stock absorbed (about 20 minutes).

15) Remove paella pan from the heat, place on a damp tea towel and leave to stand for 5 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges hung over the side of the pan.


Some people like to squeeze lemon juice over their paella once it has been served, others prefer to add a few drops of lemon juice to the rice during cooking, to help keep the grains separate.

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