Infinitely versatile, paella comes in almost as many versions as there are Spanish cooks. And, although some paella recipes call for chicken, chorizo or both, this one is for real seafood lovers, as it’s chock full of lobster and mussels. (You can substitute large shrimp for the lobster or clams for the mussels, if you prefer.) For a more flavorful broth to add to the rice, you can make a fresh lobster stock from the leftover shells and bodies.
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 live lobsters, each about 1 1/4 lb. (625 g)
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 1/2 yellow onions, finely chopped
- 1 cup (6 oz./180 g) coarsely chopped roasted piquillo peppers or roasted red bell peppers
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups (14 oz./440 g) Bomba rice or other Spanish paella rice
- 1/2 tsp. saffron threads
- 3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml) dry white wine
- 4 cups (32 fl. oz./1 l) chicken broth
- 2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 lb. (500 g) mussels, scrubbed and debearded
- 1 cup (5 oz./155 g) fresh or thawed frozen English peas
1. Have ready a large bowl filled with ice water. Bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat and add 1 Tbs. salt. Add the lobsters one at a time, headfirst. Cover and cook until the lobsters are red, about 7 minutes. Transfer the lobsters to the ice water and let cool completely. Reserve 4 cups (32 fl. oz./1 l) of the cooking liquid.
2. Separate the claws and tail from the bodies, reserving the bodies to make stock, if desired (see note above). Remove the meat from the knuckles, tails and claws. (You can halve the tails lengthwise and leave the meat inside the tails, if you like, and use them to garnish the finished dish.) Transfer the lobster to a covered container and refrigerate immediately. The lobster can be refrigerated up to overnight.
3. In a paella pan or large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onions and sauté until softened and golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add piquillo peppers and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Add the rice, crumble in the saffron and cook, stirring, until the grains are well coated, about 2 minutes. Add white wine and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour in the broth and stir in the paprika and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and cook without stirring until the rice has absorbed nearly all of the liquid, about 20 minutes.
5. Once the rice has absorbed nearly all the liquid, season to taste with salt and pepper. Press the mussels, hinge side down into the rice, discarding any that do not close to the touch. Nestle the lobster meat in the rice, and scatter the peas evenly on top. Cover and cook until the mussels have opened and the lobster is hot, about 5 minutes. Discard any unopened mussels and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.
Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen