We recommend cooking this recipe outside. It’s epic and beautiful with a deep black hue and contrasting pink-orange prawns. The color comes from cuttlefish ink, and the flavor will transport you to the Mediterranean Sea in a bite.
by Katie Button
recipe created for a 15-16 inch paella pan, serves 6 people as a main dish
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lbs of Gambas de Palamós
- 1 lb of Mediterranean squid (tubes and tentacles), tubes cut into ¼ inch rings
- 1/4 jar of Matiz sofrito
- 3 boxes of Aneto Paella Broth
- 1.5 tablespoons squid ink
- 4 cups Calasparra rice (short grain paella-style rice)
- Salt to taste
Build a charcoal fire in the bowl of a grill or in a charcoal chimney, or turn a propane flame to medium. If using wood or coals, allow it to burn down a bit, while still keeping it hot. Put the grate on top and place your pan on top to allow it to begin heating up.
Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in paella pan over high heat until shimmering. As the pan heats up, take a look at the oil – the bowl is level if the oil pools in the center of the pan. If it streams to either side, make adjustments to the grill until it is level.
Add the gambas and sear them quickly on each side. Remove them before they cook all the way through, and set them aside. Add the squid and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt. Cook, turning occasionally until brown on all sides. Add more oil if necessary.
Add the sofrito and toast the squid and sofrito together for 30 seconds. Add the stock and squid ink to the pan. Bring to a boil, taste, and add salt to taste. It should taste well-seasoned. This is a good moment to check the fire. The liquid should come to a heavy simmer which must be maintained for about 25 minutes throughout the remainder of the cooking process.
Once the stock is boiling, add the rice. Stir it all around to spread the rice evenly in the pan, then stop stirring. It is important to control the heat so that it is simmering evenly and rapidly. Cook for 15 to 17 minutes until the liquid has evaporated and the rice is just beginning to stick to the bottom of the pan. Test this by dipping a spoon straight down into the rice at a 90 degree angle. Make a small scraping motion to see if any rice is sticking. It’s ok for rice to stick and get a little bit toasty – that part is called socarrat – and it’s delicious. At the same time, be aware of any smell that turns from toasty to burnt.
Add the shrimp on top and cook for 3 more minutes, this should finish the cooking of the rice, and cook the shrimp the rest of the way through. Remove the pan from the heat and cover with foil. Let the finished paella rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with friends and all i oli on the side.
Tips from the chef…
This recipe is designed to be made outside – an open fire with a grate, a gas grill, or a charcoal grill are all great options! You’re looking for a medium to medium-high heat, so make sure that your coals are cookin’ before you get started. A few tips as you begin:
- The pan should be level. You can test this by pouring a little water in the pan before you get started. If it pools to one side or another, try and level it up so that it cooks evenly.
- If you’re cooking over a wood fire, make sure that you allow plenty of time for some coals to form before you begin the recipe. This will help the rice cook more evenly. Also, you may need to add some wood as you go, so make sure to have some smaller wood sticks or splits on hand to allow for better control of the flame.
- In the photo, we’re using Gambas Palamós – giant head-on shrimp from the Costa Brava. Use the shrimp that you have available to you, but note that cooking time will need to be reduced with smaller shrimp. Keep a close eye on them!
- Don’t have a paella pan? Try cast iron!
- The rice is important here – don’t use a standard long-grain rice, it won’t work out.