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An excellent version from the Valencia region of Spain.
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A paellara dish, or a wide and deep frying pan
For between 4-6 people, depending on hunger.
- 200g fresh Mussels, in their shells
- 1 small packet Saffron Threads
- 3 tablespoons (45ml) Olive Oil
- 1 big Onion, a mild Spanish one if possible, peeled and chopped
- 2 medium cloves of Garlic, peeled and chopped
- ½ teaspoon (2ml) Smoked Picante Pimentá²n (Spanish Paprika)
- 450g Rice, labelled as suitable for paella or risotto, rinsed in cold water
- 600ml fish stock, fresh or made from a cube (if using the latter, make it a little weaker than directed
- 200ml Dry White Wine
- 90g of tinned Pimentos drained and sliced, or one fresh red pepper, grilled and the skin removed.
- 400g pack of frozen Fruits de Mer, thawed (these are available from all good supermarkets
- 250g of firm white fish, such as Monkfish or Cod, cut into 2.5/1in cubes
- 125g Frozen Peas
- 100g shell-on North Atlantic Prawns
- 4 big Tomatoes, peeled, seeded and roughly-chopped
- Salt and freshly-ground Pepper
- Scrub the mussels, discarding any that are damaged or remain open when tapped sharply, pull away the seaweed-like 'beards'.
- Place these in a small pan, which has a close-fitting lid, add 150ml cold water. Place over a medium heat, a cook for 2 minutes - shaking the pan. Remove from the heat.
- Strain the mussels through a sieve to remove any grit from the liquid, and set both liquid and mussels aside.
- Place the Saffron in a small bowl and pour 150ml hot water over the top. Leave to stand for about 10 minutes.
- Heat the oil over a gentle heat, in a wide frying pan or paellara if you have one. Add the onion and garlic and cook gently for 8-10 minutes, or until the onions are soft but not brown.
- Stir in the pimentá²n and rice, then add the stock, wine, saffron and its soaking liquid, and the reserved mussel cooking liquid - not the mussels at this stage.
- Lightly season with salt, but plenty of ground pepper.
- Bring to the boil, and simmer for 10 minutes
- Add the pimento strips, fruits de mer, white fish cubes and peas, and simmer for a further 5 minutes, or until the rice is just cooked, and almost all the liquid has been absorbed.
- Arrange the mussels and prawns on top of the paella, cover with a lid, or a piece of foil and cook gently for 2 more minutes, or until they are hot.
- Remove the pan from the heat and leave to stand, covered, for 5 minutes before serving.