Intimidated by the idea of pulling together a seafood paella? This easy seafood paella is a modern take on traditional paella that requires fewer ingredients and no special pan! But it will deliver the WOW factor on all levels. Be sure to check out the video and step-by-step tutorial for this foolproof seafood paella recipe!
What is Paella?
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 simply 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. And that’s why, it makes perfect sense that there are many variations of paella today!
I take comfort in that paella is one dish I can make my own! I chose shrimp and lobster for my star seafood ingredients, but kept things simple otherwise. And no need for a special paella pan, a cast iron skillet will work!
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.
How to Make this Easy Seafood Paella?
1- The first step here is to get the lobster cooking in boiling water. This will be quick, about 1 to 2 minutes. You don’t want to overcook the lobster, but you’re looking for it to turn a nice pink. When the lobster is cool enough to handle, remove the shell and cut into large chunks to use later. And keep the lobster water for later use!
2. I like to soak the paella rice in water a few minutes before using (this helps it cook evenly). Then to begin making the paella, heat 3 tbsp EVOO over medium-high (making sure it’s shimmering but not smoking.) Saute chopped onions first for a couple minutes, then add the rice (drain first).
Cook the rice for 3 minutes, stirring regularly. Yes, 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.
3- Now we add a few more ingredients: garlic and the lobster cooking water first. Then the saffron and it’s soaking liquid along with spices, 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.
4- Now, we add the shrimp over the rice, pushing it into the rice a little. At this point, if the rice looks to be too dry and might need a tiny bit of water, you can carefully add some. 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, if you like.
How to serve paella?
I really can’t claim to know what the traditional way to serve paella is, but in my house, we serve it family style with a favorite white wine.
Watch the video tutorial for this easy seafood paella recipe:
More Recipes to Try:Print
Easy seafood paella recipe with lobster and shrimp. Be sure to see the tips for best results. Watch the video and step-by-step tutorial above.
- 4 small lobster tails (6-12 oz each)
- 3 tbsp Private Reserve Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cups Spanish rice or short grain rice, soaked in water for 15 minutes and then drained
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 large pinches of Spanish saffron threads soaked in 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp Sweet Spanish paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp aleppo pepper flakes
- 2 large Roma tomatoes, finely chopped
- 6 oz French green beans, trimmed
- 1 lb prawns or large shrimp or your choice, peeled and deveined
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 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.
- In a large 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, and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring regularly. 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 tomatoes and green beans. Bring to a boil and let the liquid slightly 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 hot with your favorite white wine.
- Pro-Tip: Depending on the kind of rice you use, you may or not need to soak it in water before cooking. I have found that soaking rice in water for 15 minutes or so (until you are able to easily break a grain of rice between your thumb and index finger) helps speed the cooking process. When you do this, you naturally use less cooking water. The rice cooks evenly and more quickly.
- Note: In some paella recipes, you are almost “forbidden” from stirring the rice early in the cooking process. But it worked best for me this way. Grateful to Bobby Flay for this tip.
- Recommended for this Recipe: Our Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil (from organically grown and processed Koroneiki olives), and our all-natural Spanish paprika and Aleppo Pepper (a mild pepper that lends depth and subtle sweetness.)
- SAVE! Try our Our Greek Olive Oil Bundle; Ultimate Mediterranean Spice Bundle; or create your own 6-pack or 3-pack of our all-natural or organic spices!
Keywords: Paella, Seafood Paella, Easy Paella Recipe
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