This is a Latin nod to paella, sin saffron. Ours is a healthy, low fat, light, and fibrous dish, as we fix ours with brown rice for alimentary appreciation. Better yet; with all those shells jutting out of the rice it is a visual dinner plate masterpiece, with a depth of flavors to the bottom of the sea. This dish is finished in the oven and the slow cooking time mellows the texture of the rice to creaminess in the seafood stock, while most of its nuttiness surrenders to the flavors of that stock. Along with a Verdejo, Sauvignon Blanc, Cava, or even a light Granacha, this is an elegant way to shrug off an overbearing winter.
Note: Need a 15 inch paella pan or large skillet for sautéing and baking. Make sure it fits in oven.
3 pounds clams, mussels, mix of choice. Best and easy to buy debearded and cleaned.
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups Beulah Land Tan or Beulah Land Medley
2 cups commercial seafood stock, plus 2½ cups retained stock from clam and mussel steaming
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp garlic, minced
1½ tbsp Mexican tarragon, finely chopped (may substitute French tarragon if necessary)
1 ½ cup chopped cilantro, divided
1 small jalapeno, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
8 ounce jar of sweet peppers, drained and chopped
2 small fine tomatoes, diced
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp coriander, fresh ground
1 tsp cumin, fresh ground
Lemon for garnish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
In paella pan or skillet (hereafter called paella pan), heat olive oil and lightly brown garlic. Add yellow onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, and tarragon and sauté until onions translucent. Add sweet peppers, tomatoes, lemon zest, coriander, cumin, and half of cilantro and blend well to heat. Add rice and blend well to coat all kernels with oil while lightly toasting. Add commercial seafood stock, lemon juice, lime juice, and remaining cilantro and bring to boil. Carefully place pan in oven and bake for 20 minutes.
In a large skillet or medium stockpot with tight fitting lid add 2 ½ cups water and clams and mussels (liquid will be about ¾ to 1 inch deep—not immersing shells). Bring to boil and cover, steaming for about 7 minutes. Peek, and if majority of shells are open remove with a slotted spoon into a pan to keep from overcooking. Sort through and discard shells that don’t open. Cover with towel. Retain seafood stock.
Remove paella pan from oven and carefully add 2½ cups stock from the clam/mussel steaming. Replace in oven for 20 minutes. In meantime, soak shrimp in warm water.
Remove paella pan. Embed shrimp into rice and stock. Deliberately embed steamed clams and mussels into rice and stock, ensuring that most of meat is immersed so as to spread flavors and not dry out. Replace in oven for 20 minutes. This will amount to 60 minutes of rice cooking time, and rice should be well cooked. If so, remove from oven and cover pan with cloth for 10 minutes. Remove cloth, admire, plate, garnish with lemon, and enjoy!