An easy seafood paella recipe cooked right in my cast iron skillet! A delicious seafood paella for today’s busy cook!
According to this History of Paella article, paella combines the Roman and Arabic cultures. Arab conquerors introduced rice in Valencia. The word “paella,” may have stemmed from the Arabic word “baquia,” which means leftovers. So, historically, paella was introduced as the delicious solution to leftovers. And depending on where you live, you would utilize ingredients available in that region. It makes sense then that there are many variations of paella today!
But even as we get creative with paella, there are two constants in a good paella recipe: Spanish saffron–thankfully, we need a little bit of this expensive stuff– and short-grain rice or Calasparra rice.
I take comfort in that paella one dish I can make my own! Today’s is a simple paella recipe with shrimp and lobster made right in my cast iron skillet! Fewer ingredients and lots of flavor.
Here is the recipe for today’s easy seafood paella (step-by-step tutorial with photos follows):
Step-by-step tutorial for how to make this seafood paella recipe:
In a large pot, bring 3 cups of water to a rolling boil. Add the lobster tails and let boil very briefly (1-2 minutes) until pink. Turn the heat off. Remove the lobster tails with a pair of tongs. Do not discard the lobster cooking water. When the lobster is cool enough to handle, remove the shell and cut into large chunks. Set aside.
In a large cast, deep pan or skillet, heat 3 tbsp olive oil. Turn the heat to medium-high and add the chopped onions. Saute the onions for 2 minutes then add the rice (I pre-soak my rice before cooking. See the recipe notes). Cook for 3 minutes, stirring regularly. (I am aware that in some recipes you are almost “forbidden” from stirring the rice. But it worked best for me this way. Grateful to Bobby Flay for this tip.)
Now add the chopped garlic and the lobster cooking water. Stir in the saffron and it’s soaking liquid, paprika, cayenne pepper, aleppo pepper, and salt. Stir in the chopped tomato and green beans. Bring to a boil and let the liquid reduce, then cover (with lid or tightly with foil) and cook on low heat for 20 minutes.
Uncover and spread the shrimp over the rice, pushing it into the rice slightly. Add a little water if needed. Cover and cook for another 10-15 minutes until the shrimp turns pink. Finally, add the cooked lobster chunks. When the lobster is warmed through, turn heat off. Garnish with parsley.
Serve the paella family-style with your favorite white wine! Enjoy!
More Mediterranean rice dishes you may like: